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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU Honors Agricultural Leaders, Faculty and Staff

LAS CRUCES - Southern New Mexico residents J.B. Pruett and Jupe Means were honored for their leadership and contributions to the state's agricultural industry during a special annual awards ceremony Thursday at New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Home Economics.



J.B. Pruett, president of Northrise Corp., a Las Cruces-based construction and facilities development firm, received the New Mexico Outstanding Leadership Award at a special annual awards ceremony Thursday at New Mexico State University's College of Agriculture and Home Economics. (04/25/2003) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by J. Victor Espinoza)

NMSU President Jay Gogue and Jerry Schickedanz, the college's dean and chief administrative officer, presented the awards to supports, faculty and staff.

Pruett, a longtime university supporter and president of Northrise Corp., a Las Cruces-based construction and facilities development firm, received the New Mexico Outstanding Leadership Award.

"I have walked through the halls of this building many times and viewed portraits of those selected as outstanding leaders in New Mexico," Pruett said. "However, never in my wildest dreams did I ever consider that I might one day be selected to receive this award."

The 1962 NMSU graduate's positive contributions range from teaching as an animal science instructor to serving on the New Mexico Works Board of Directors. New Mexico Works, a joint program between NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service and the state Human Services Department's Income Support Division, provides training, education and job placement assistance for low-income participants in nine southern New Mexico counties.

Pruett has also served on the NMSU President's Associate Board of Directors, a voluntary group of individuals who contribute to the university and to its scholarship programs.

Means, a Grant County cattle rancher who has spent more than 80 years in the saddle, received the college's Philip J. Leyendecker Agriculturist of Distinction Award. The Leyendecker award is named for a leader and former dean who invested more than 30 years in improving NMSU and New Mexico agriculture.

Means has helped improve scholarship opportunities for the college, contributing to the Jupe Means Scholarship, Animal and Range Sciences Scholarship and several other scholarship programs. He has also been a decisive leader in educating the public about the college's range improvement programs.

Means, whose formal first name is Huling, runs the H-Y Ranch southeast of Mule Creek. He started riding when he was 3 and went on to be a championship polo player for the New Mexico Military Institute, a bronc buster and Cattleman of the Year.

"I was born in a cow pasture 87 yers ago in Van Horn, Texas," Means said. "When I was 3, we moved to the H-Y and I'm still in a cow pasture."

Members of the college's faculty and staff honored during Thursday's awards program were David Thompson, an associate professor in the entomology, plant pathology and weed science department, with the Distinguished Teaching Award, and Geno Picchioni, an assistant professor in the agronomy and horticulture department, Teaching Award of Merit recipient from the National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

John Mexal, a professor in the agronomy and horticulture department, received the Distinguished Research Award. Natalie Goldberg, an Extension plant pathologist, was given the Distinguished Extension Award. The Distinguished Service Award went to John Harrington, an associate professor and superintendent of NMSU's Mora Research Center.

Curtis Owen, a research assistant at NMSU's Agricultural Science Center at Farmington, received the Classified Staff Award for his contributions to the college's field crop research.