Homecoming 2017: A Tribute to Aggie Alumni and to Dutch

provost-dan-howardHomecoming at NMSU is always fun, but this year there seemed to be even more joy in the air than usual. Part of the charm of the week may have been the crispness and clarity of the air as the temperature dropped on Friday. Part may have been realizing anew the beauty of our campus as I visited buildings and courtyards that are tucked into areas that I rarely visit.

Certainly, a great deal of the joy was associated with connecting with distinguished alumni. Spending time in the boisterous presence of Irene Oliver Lewis, the Distinguished Alumna of the College of Arts and Sciences, will put a smile on anyone’s face. Talking with Eloy Torrez, the Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Engineering who is making transformational gifts to the College of Engineering to fund the Eloy Torrez Family Learning Communities, builds anew one’s belief in the potential of all of our students.

Listening to Del Esparza, the Distinguished Alumnus of the College of Business, provide heartfelt and insightful advice to our business students is a reminder that a carefully crafted and well-delivered speech can, indeed, inspire. Spending even a small amount of time with MaryLou Davis, the Distinguished Alumna of the College of Education, is rewarded with the warmth and wisdom that comes with many years of teaching. Sitting at a dinner table with Frank and Jennifer Seidel, and learning more about their determination to give back to the university that gave so much to Frank, brings into focus the transformational power of NMSU.

To top it all off, I got to re-connect with Dutch, the 22-year-old Palomino, that I have ridden in most of the Homecoming parades over the course of the past five years. Dutch is a beautiful, gentle horse who brings a smile to everyone along the parade route. To spend time with him, or with any horse that trusts you, brings a peace and calm that is difficult to find anywhere else in life.

Dutch is one of NMSU’s therapeutic riding horses, and has devoted much of his life to serving people with special needs. He is lovingly cared for by Associate Professor Laura White and her team in the NMSU Equestrian Center, where we not only teach students the principles of animal care, but we enrich our community through outreach programs such as therapeutic riding. Spending time with Dutch, however short, reminds me of the many things that are good and right about NMSU.

With all best wishes,

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