On Saturday, October 21, I had the honor of speaking at the Dr. James B. Williams Memorial Concert held in the auditorium of the Corbett Center Student Union. Dr. Williams was an extraordinary person: a Tuskegee Airman; a surgeon who, with his brothers and mother, opened the first medical clinic designed to serve the African American community in Chicago; and, a husband, father, and uncle who
was deeply loved by his family. In my remarks, I expressed the gratitude of New Mexico State University to the Williams family for all that Dr. Williams, and his mother Clarabelle Williams, did to help us understand the importance of diversity and the value of every individual in our society. The Williams family truly led the integration of NMSU and made us a better university. The lovely singing of the NMSU Gospel Choir, led by Dr. Bobbie Green, brought a joy and solemnity to the event that moved everyone in the audience.
Much of my week was spent at Homecoming activities, which seemed particularly joyful this year. Part of the joy was spending time with our Distinguished alumni: MaryLou Davis, Esteban Herrera, Del Esparza, Eloy Torrez, Irene Oliver Lewis, and Sue Gerber, who are wonderfully accomplished, but down-to-earth and fun to be around. Another part of the joy was seeing our faculty, staff, and students connect with alumni. The cherry on the sundae for me was re-connecting with Dutch, the NMSU therapy riding horse that has been my partner in the Homecoming parade for the past five years. Dutch, as always, was elegant, well-mannered, and simply splendid.