NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center




“A Starry Night” fundraiser to honor community leaders

New Mexico State University’s College of Arts and Sciences will celebrate “A Starry Night, the Stars of Arts and Sciences” fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 3, at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts at 1000 University Ave.


Four people smiling with arms around each other
Glenn Cutter, Jag Cheema, Sally Cutter and Linda Cheema celebrate at the 2016 "Starry Night" event. The Cutters and Jag Cheema were among those honored last year along with Larry and Diane Allen and Patty Lopez. This year's event is scheduled for Feb. 3. (Courtesy photo)

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Dean’s Fund for Excellence, which supports students with special projects, awards, research and teaching.

The event is hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council and will celebrate four people who have helped to promote the university: Maryce Jacobs, Connie Hines, R. Nick Franklin and Patrick Lamb.

“This year, we asked the public to help us nominate honorees. Each of the individuals chosen this year has demonstrated support for the College of Arts and Sciences and a commitment to the betterment of the Las Cruces community,” said Enrico Pontelli, interim dean of the college. “This event gives us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on their contributions and the many ways they serve the university and our region.”

The evening will begin with a buffet reception at 5:30 p.m. during which 30 star faculty, staff, students or alumni from 26 departments in the college will be honored with posters on display throughout the Center for the Arts. Sponsorships for the event are still available and tickets are $75 each. For more information, contact Ashley Jurado at ajurado@nmsu.edu or 575-646-5886.

The awards ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre and will include videos about each of the honorees and a performance by an 18-piece jazz band from NMSU’s music department. The ceremony will be followed with a dessert buffet reception.

Jacobs, who will receive the Star of the Sciences award, grew up in Las Cruces and earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at NMSU, a doctorate in biochemistry at the University of California at Los Angeles and an MBA at Strayer University. During her academic career, she worked the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Eppley Cancer Center and published 50 scientific articles and 22 books. She has been a consultant for numerous government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration and spent 22 years in Washington, D.C. as the Vice President for the American Institute for Cancer Research, the CEO of the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions and the Founder and CEO of the Health Science Institute. She retired to Las Cruces in 2005 and has volunteered her time with many local organizations including the Farm & Ranch Museum Civic Concert Association and Taylor Foundation. Her father Carl Jacobs started the music department and has a building named for him at NMSU.

Lamb, who will receive the Star of the Town and Gown award, grew up in Ruidoso where his father was editor and publisher of the local newspaper. He earned his journalism degree from the University of New Mexico and became a state political editor and reporter for United Press International in Santa Fe, was the editor and publisher of the Telluride Times in Colorado before returning to UPI as bureau chief and state editor. He changed careers, joining First National Bank of Dona Ana County in Las Cruces as Vice President for Marketing and became involved in many community organizations including several at NMSU including the NMSU Foundation and the NMSU President’s Associates Scholarship. He served as the first president of the board of the American Southwest Theatre Co. at NMSU, was a member of the Las Cruces Symphony Association Board, president of the NMSU President’s Associates and served 26 years on the board of the NMSU Foundation. He was also volunteer coach for the NMSU rugby team for many years. After Wells Fargo acquired First National Bank of Dona Ana, Lamb was named Vice President for Marketing for the company’s New Mexico-West Texas Region. Although he worked in Albuquerque, he maintained his residence in Las Cruces for 12 years before retiring and returning full time to Las Cruces, where he has continued his involvement in the community, including activities with NMSU.

Hines, who will receive the Star of the Arts award, came to Las Cruces to study art at NMSU, earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting. She is a licensed interior designer who became involved with custom home building and became a licensed contractor. She and her husband Jerry developed Hines & Hines Custom Homes and she has an interior design firm in Las Cruces. She has served as president and member of the board of trustees for the University Art Gallery, raising money to begin restoration of the gallery’s extensive retablos collection. Hines served as a member of the Dean’s Council for Excellence in the Arts for 11 years and is currently a member of the Williams Hall Renovation Project Committee which is focused on raising $1million to provide furnishings and equipment for the renovated visual arts facility, which will be built with funds approved by voters in the 2016 GO Bond C for higher education.

Franklin, who will receive the Star of the Arts and Sciences, was a Fortune 500 business executive and senior public affairs professional. He spent much of his childhood living with his parents and younger sister in a 19-foot travel trailer as his father moved from town to town throughout New Mexico but his family settled in Las Cruces and he earned his bachelor’s degree in government from NMSU. Upon graduation, he worked for U.S. Senator Joseph Montoya and New Mexico Senator Clinton P. Anderson while attending law school in the evenings. After earning his law degree from George Washington University, Franklin spend many years in public service for the Democratic Party and working in the healthcare industry, first for FHP and later for PacificCare where he helped shepherd the passage of the bipartisan Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and its parent legislation the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003 before his retirement. But he never forgot New Mexico and NMSU, making contributions to the university over the years and agreeing to come out of retirement to serve as President of the NMSU Foundation Board and Vice President for University Advancement from 2007-2009. He is currently the chair of the NMSU Foundation Board.

The Dean’s Fund for Excellence provides the College of Arts and Sciences the flexibility to take advantage of unique and unexpected opportunities to enhance the quality of education for students, expand the research abilities for faculty and support larger community efforts to improve higher education in the state.