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Estate of Bunford S. Pelton endows four scholarships at NMSU

The Bunford S. Pelton estate gifted $200,000 to last November’s Giving Tuesday event at New Mexico State University. With an additional $25,000 matched by the NMSU Foundation, the gift enhanced scholarships in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, the study abroad program and at Doña Ana Community College.


group of people stand around a giant check
Clifford Pelton, surrounded by NMSU Foundation staff, Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, College of Education Dean Don Pope-Davis and others, holds a photo of his brother, Bumpy, at Giving Tuesday. (NMSU photo)

Bunford, known to everyone as “Bumpy,” was born Jan. 26, 1927, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was nicknamed Bumpy in grade school, but no one remembers how the name came about. However, Bumpy’s memory will forever be celebrated through his scholarships.

Bumpy was seldom in one place for very long. He had a hard life and was often misunderstood because he was shy and guarded but he was always considerate of others. Bumpy served in the army during WWII and was honorably discharged. He was a master of many trades and worked hard his entire life, rarely enjoying his earnings. When Bumpy retired, however, he experienced two great adventures while following his dream to trek through Nepal. In 1996, Bumpy moved to Las Cruces to join his brother, Clifford Pelton, finally finding a place to call home.

The gift from Bumpy’s estate is a reflection of his life and adventures. The hope is that it will ease the financial burden for NMSU students, and that one day, each recipient will “pay it forward” in honor of Bumpy.

“Clifford Pelton carefully researched the entire course catalog at NMSU, looking for just the right fit for the scholarships he wanted to create,” said Andrea Tawney, NMSU Foundation president. “His attention to detail and desire to truly represent his brother in each of these scholarships has been extremely touching. NMSU is both humbled and honored by the generosity of the Bunford S. Pelton Estate’s gift to help our students succeed while in college and when they graduate.”