Since 1966, the New Mexico State University Alumni Association has honored numerous alumni with the James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service.
This award instills the tradition of excellence NMSU has upheld throughout the years, and each recipient (one per year) is selected based on support to NMSU, involvement with NMSU, civic and humanitarian service and professional success.
A committee of the NMSU Alumni Association Executive Council selects the award recipient according to that person's support of NMSU, involvement with the university and their civic and professional service, after graduating from NMSU. Nominations for this award remain active for three years following the date of nomination unless the nominee is selected for the award. The recipient must have attended NMSU or be an active member of the Alumni Association before the date of selection. Alumni who are members of the NMSU faculty or staff are also eligible.
This award is presented during the annual Homecoming festivities at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner.
2018 James F. Cole Memorial Award for Service Recipient
Dr. Patricia Lopez '80, '82, '89
Lopez’s love for NMSU started at age 15 during a state 4-H competition held on campus.
“I remember sitting with my friends near Milton Hall. Back then, there was a bowling alley in the basement and KRWG was housed there,” Lopez said. “I imagined what it would be like to attend college at NMSU. I believe that trip helped seal my decision. Plus, I ended up winning state competition and competed at the national 4-H conference in Chicago!”
After graduating with three computer science degrees from NMSU – a bachelor’s degree in 1980, a master’s degree in 1982 and a doctorate in 1989 – Lopez took her talents to Intel. Today, she is a senior platform applications engineer at the corporation’s datacenter group. She describes these datacenters as the “clouds that store all your data.”
The success in her professional career, though, has not stopped her from giving back. Since 2000, she served on multiple boards at NMSU, including those for computer science and engineering. She has served on the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors and has spoken to students and faculty on campus about graduate school, minority participation and computing opportunities. Lopez also started an NMSU scholarship in 2006 memorializing her parents that supports minority students who attend NMSU.
“It’s important to create visibility for the university, which is a very strong research institution, and to create opportunities for students to attend, graduate and have successful careers as I have had,” Lopez said.
In 2015, Lopez received the Society of Women Engineers’ Advocating Women in Engineering Award, which honors individuals who have demonstrated professional excellence in their chosen STEM fields and have proven to be advocates of women in engineering and SWE’s objectives.
Her guidance to NMSU students is to share their ideas and dreams with those around them.
“Setup some short and long-term goals, and make a list of your accomplishments,” Lopez said. “When you get discouraged, take pride in what you have accomplished, share your concerns and ask for help. People will do their best to connect you with the resources you need. Your dreams are our dreams, and your success is our success.”
Lopez is the daughter of Ross and Lydia Lopez. She now lives in Colorado with her husband Bob Fink who have three children – Marisa, Maya and Samuel Lopez-Fink.
|Year||Recipient(s) Name||Year||Recipient(s) Name|
|2017||Frank A. Seidel '81||2016||Dino Camunez '81|
|2015||Morgan Nelson '41||2014||Lou Henson '55, '56
Carol Smallwood '83
|2013||J. Paul Taylor '42, '54, '63||2012||Don Beasley '72|
|2011||Michael Rogers '73|
Dan Perry '62
|2010||Jerean Camunez Hutchinson '79|
|2009||Shari Jones '80, '81||2008||Dave Cooley '78
Betsey Cooley '78
|2007||E. Larry Lujan '76||2006||Frank Dubois '73, '78|
|2005||Jim T. Dunlap '54, '67||2004||Gary Cataldo '70|
|2003||Tomas Chavez '54||2002||Julie Hall|
|2001||Jack Ward||2000||John Jack Oestreicher '71|
|1999||Walter Gerald Hines '66, '67||1998||William "Bill" Sauble '70|
|1997||William "Bill" Cantrell '67||1996||Rosco Vaugn '65, '69, '84|
|1995||Laura Coniff '74||1994||W.K. Bill Shriver '58|
|1993||Betty Sims Solt '59||1992||Gertrude Kretek '52
Geraldine Kretek '52
|1991||Kent McIntosh '41||1990||Blance Lear Hubbard|
|1989||Marshall Scott '62, '64||1988||Martin D. Alexander '60|
|1987||B.J. Bob Porter '51, '56||1986||Lombre Sue Hepburn '48|
|1985||Edward Gregg '33||1984||Larry Ramirez '74|
|1983||George Dawson '50||1982||Angie Stroup '66|
|1981||Horace Hubert||1980||Archie Beckett '51|
|1979||Leon Wagley '47|
Anthony Romo '52, '54
|1978||Helen Strickland Hampton '40, '54|
|1977||J. Henry Gustafson '40||1976||George Ray Smith '52|
|1975||Carolyn Henry '63||1974||Albert Burleson '44|
|1973||Kathleen Kit Elliot '62||1972||Melton Shelton '57, '60|
|1971||Dick Reeves '25||1970||Edward Oliver '52|
|1969||Albert Vallin '33|
Fred P. Geibel '32
|1967||Edward Wallace '52||1966||Dorothy Cole '70, '78|