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Memorial scholarship created for Giving Tuesday boosts NMSU students and their families

New Mexico State University’s first-ever Giving Tuesday event on Dec. 1, 2015, was a huge fundraising success, but that occasion was tinged with sadness for many at the university who had lost their friend, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences graduate Hannah Farbo, just the week before, following a tragic auto accident.



Colleen Payne, left, and best friend Hannah Farbo, right, celebrate their graduation from New Mexico State University. Farbo passed away in 2015, and Payne worked with Farbo’s parents to established an endowed scholarship in her memory. (Courtesy photo)

Alexandria Claycomb nuzzles her horse, Chilly. Claycomb was the first student to receive the Hannah Farbo Memorial Scholarship, established during New Mexico State University’s first Giving Tuesday in 2015. (Courtesy photo)

Farbo’s parents, Brenda and D.Jay Farbo, and her best friend, Colleen Payne, took some comfort in establishing a scholarship in her honor to benefit students who shared her passion for horses and New Mexico agriculture. They created the Hannah Farbo Memorial Endowed Scholarship with an initial $13,000 in funds gathered from friends and family for Giving Tuesday, and matched dollar-for-dollar by the NMSU Foundation to create an endowed fund.

“Hannah was one of those people who was so passionate about everything she did, especially her time at NMSU,” Payne said. “She loved every part of it, from her professors to meeting new friends and dance partners, to cheering on the Aggies every game.”

Payne said the scholarship’s impact was accelerated by the matching opportunity made available by NMSU during Giving Tuesday. Those matching funds came from the NMSU Alumni License Plate program and an estate gift from a generous Aggie donor.

“Giving Tuesday allowed us to turn this from a current use goal to an endowment,” she said. “Anyone can make a difference, and thankfully with our friends, family and NMSU, we made a difference together.”

The scholarship is already having an impact in the lives of three students in the College of ACES who have received it so far. The first recipient, Alexandria Claycomb, a junior from Albuquerque majoring in animal science, said receiving the scholarship meant the world to her and her mother.

“I was honored to receive such a special scholarship created in loving memory of a successful, admirable, beautiful girl who was taken too soon,” Claycomb said.

The scholarship helped Claycomb’s family by offsetting tuition costs at a crucial time, when her mother, Giovanna Eisberg, was in school herself, working toward her Ph.D.

“I am now proud to call my mom Dr. Eisberg,” Claycomb said. “Thank you for not only granting me a scholarship, but one that truly touched my heart.”

Brenda Farbo said if not for the generosity of so many people, Hannah might not have been able to attend college.
“She understood the importance of the scholarship awards and was always so surprised and grateful to receive the help,” she said. “Without the scholarships, we knew we couldn't foot the whole bill for her education, and the support lifted a huge burden. Scholarships, no matter the amount, are greatly appreciated and make a huge difference in the lives of students and parents.”

Brenda said she was moved by the opportunity that she and D.Jay had to meet all of the scholarship recipients recently and get to know them.

“Each took time, on their way to class, to meet with us and let us know how much they appreciated the scholarship to continue their studies,” she said. “They spoke with passion about their individual goals within the Animal Science program. It was the same excitement and passion our daughter would share with us during her time at NMSU.

“We are confident each of these Aggies will be a success and look forward to seeing them become leaders in agriculture,” she added.

Giving Tuesday returns on Nov. 28, 2017, and matching funds are available for many types of gifts. The community is invited to visit Giving Tuesday 2017 Headquarters at Corbett Center’s Aggie Lounge on the Las Cruces campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 28, or to make a gift online at support.nmsu.edu. For details about matching fund opportunities, visit advancing.nmsu.edu/givingtuesday.