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NMSU supporter Pat Sisbarro to receive national Distinguished Friend of Education Award

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education will present longtime New Mexico State University supporter Pat Sisbarro with the Distinguished Friend of Education Award, an honor given to just one person in the nation each year. NMSU nominated Sisbarro in recognition of her years of service to the university.

Photo of Pat and Lou Sisbarro at Pat and Lou Sisbarro Community Park.
Pat Sisbarro and her husband, Lou, stand for a photo next to a sign marking the site of the new Pat and Lou Sisbarro Community Park during a special ribbon-cutting event on the NMSU campus. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

“This is very a competitive award,” NMSU President Garrey Carruthers said. “The fact that Pat was selected shows how important her work is and how deeply committed she is to the university. NMSU is fortunate to have someone like Pat Sisbarro as a friend and supporter. The contributions that she and her husband, Lou, have made help support our community and make NMSU a better place.”

CASE is the primary professional association for fundraising professionals in higher education. The recognition is part of CASE’s 2015 Distinguished Service Awards, which honor individuals and organizations for their extraordinary service to education and the field of educational advancement. The award will be presented July 13 in Chicago.

In 2007, Sisbarro helped create the NMSU Aggies Are Tough Enough to Wear Pink breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaign. The all-volunteer community effort, which she continues to co-chair, works hand-and-hand with the university. To date, the effort has raised more than $3.5 million and funds nationally recognized cancer research conducted by NMSU and the University of New Mexico.

Sisbarro has also served for three years on NMSU’s President’s Associates board of directors, which raises money to support scholarships for outstanding students. She also helped create and served for eight years on the board of the American Southwest Theatre Company at NMSU.

Last year, she and her husband established the Pat and Lou Sisbarro Current Use Fund to support critical projects at NMSU in a timely manner during the next five years. Pat and Lou Sisbarro also established a separate, substantial legacy gift for the university.

“This legacy gift will have an extraordinary and lasting impact on NMSU,” Carruthers said. “It will provide resources for the university to continue important projects and initiatives and have an impact long into the future.”

In March, NMSU held a grand opening for Pat and Lou Sisbarro Community Park, named for the couple in recognition of their continued generosity and their commitment to NMSU and the Las Cruces community.