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McKay Retires After 30 Years With Cooperative Extension Service

LAS CRUCES -- Mary Ellen McKay, department head of New Mexico State University's Extension Home Economics and Family and Consumer Sciences departments, retired Jan. 30 after 30 years of service.


"Mary Ellen has been a more than willing team player to assist wherever needed for the good of the organization," said Jerry Schickedanz, interim dean and chief administrative officer of NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences . "Her helpful reminders to me of the importance of home economics to the college will be missed."

McKay's Cooperative Extension Service career began in 1960 when she was hired as county 4-H home economist in Jefferson County, Mo. After two years in that position, she took a short break before coming to NMSU in 1969 as Lincoln County Extension home economist.

She also served as a family community leadership coordinator under a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The program helped individuals learn leadership skills to become involved in the community's political process.

In 1987, McKay became Union County Extension home economist. She earned the rank of full professor in 1988 and was promoted to full-time Extension leadership specialist in 1989. The following year, she was appointed head of Extension Home Economics. In 1995, she added Family and Consumer Sciences to her department head role. During her tenure, the department changed its name and experienced rapid student growth.

McKay earned her bachelor's degree in home economics from the University of Missouri in 1960. She completed her master's degree in agricultural and extension education from NMSU in 1978.

McKay and her husband plan to travel and visit family members now that she's retired.