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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU College of Education receives $2 million estate gift for scholarships

The New Mexico State University College of Education announced today at its annual Scholarship Reception that it is the beneficiary of the Elizabeth Anne Shirk estate, which is valued at more than $2 million.

This is the single largest gift ever received by the college and will make it possible for many students to get needed assistance to pay for their education, said Dean Michael Morehead.

"We're pleased that this support will enable us to help our students pursue their educations and grateful to Elizabeth for thinking of the college," Morehead said.

The Elizabeth Anne Shirk Memorial Scholarship was established with an initial gift of $250,000 from the estate. Remaining gifts will continue to flow into the scholarship fund following the sale of other estate assets. The scholarship will include special initiatives that will benefit Native American students. Students from all departments in the college will be eligible to apply.

The announcement was made to more than 300 donors and student scholarship recipients at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Each year the college brings its scholarship donors and the students who benefit from the scholarships together to meet and celebrate. This year more than $82,000 in scholarships were awarded to 100 education students at NMSU.

Shirk earned a master's in teaching from New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, now NMSU, in 1956. Following the completion of her degree, she taught second and third grade at a Navajo elementary school in Arizona. She returned to Albuquerque in the late 1980s to care for her mother and continued to live on the family dairy farm until moving into a nursing home toward the end of her life. She often shared fond memories of Las Cruces and NMSU with her friends.