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Four Leaders Made Honorary Members of NMSU's Sam Steel Society

LAS CRUCES - Four alumni and supporters have been named honorary members of the Sam Steel Society at New Mexico State University.

They are the late John Taylor Jr. of Socorro, Steve Brown of Las Cruces, Anna Lyles of Fairacres and James C. Manatt Jr. of Roswell. Jerry G. Schickedanz, dean of NMSU's College of Agriculture and Home Economics, presented the honorary memberships Dec. 10.

The society honors the memory of Sam Steel, who would have been the university's first graduate and the first college graduate in the New Mexico Territory, had he not been killed just months before his graduation in 1893. Steel family members later attended and graduated from NMSU.

Taylor, senior wildlife biologist at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in Socorro, was a doctoral candidate in range science at NMSU when he died Sept. 27. The 2003 National Fish and Wildlife Employee of the Year earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from NMSU in 1981. He received local, regional and national honors for his work with wetland management, geese and salt cedar eradication at Bosque del Apache.

Brown is president and chief executive officer for Bank of the Rio Grande in Las Cruces. He received a bachelor's degree in business administration from NMSU in 1975. An avid rider and roper, he supports NMSU's rodeo and equestrian teams and other student organizations. His children, Justin and Amanda, attend NMSU.

Lyles started the Mesilla Valley Maze six years ago on a small portion of the 1,000 acres the family farms north of Las Cruces. Thousands now visit the giant cornfield maze and colorful pumpkin patch. Since 1999, Lyles has worked with NMSU engineering students, who use satellite technology to create the maze. She has been a guest speaker for NMSU graduate classes on agricultural marketing.

Manatt, a Roswell businessman, is a past president and current member of NMSU's Board of Regents. He is the president, chief executive officer and founder of Providence Technologies Inc., a consulting firm in energy development projects. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from NMSU in 1971. He has held positions ranging from founding director of Mesilla Valley Bank to president of Sierra Oil and Gas Inc.