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$250,000 gift funds NMSU's new Lionel Haight Professorship

A quarter-million dollar gift from longtime New Mexico State University supporters Mike and Judy Gray Johnson will help create the Lionel Haight Professorship in NMSU's College of Business.



Lionel Haight, a former NMSU professor and head of the accounting department, died in 1998. Known for his demanding yet supportive teaching style, he had a 45-year career at NMSU from 1927-1972. (NMSU photo)

"We've been very supportive of the university," said Judy Gray Johnson, who majored in accounting at NMSU before later transferring to the University of Houston. "My husband and I both received a great education at NMSU, and wanted to do something to give back."

Johnson went on to be a certified public accountant and later the financial director for the city of Houston. She said what she learned about accounting during her time at NMSU set a foundation for her later success. Her husband studied geological sciences at NMSU and went on to work for ConocoPhillips.

Haight, a former NMSU professor and head of the accounting department, died in 1998. Known for his demanding yet supportive teaching style, he had a 45-year career at NMSU from 1927-1972. He was named accounting department head in 1964 in the newly formed College of Business Administration and Economics and, for a time, was the college's only accounting professor.

"He was encouraging and knew students could achieve success, but it meant working hard," Johnson said. "We hope this gift will encourage others to make similar contributions to the university."

The goal is to eventually turn the professorship to a $1 million chair. Several NMSU alumni have already contributed toward that end and fundraising is continuing.

In addition to the Haight Professorship, the NMSU College of Business now has five others, including the Robert O. Anderson Professorship, the Bank of America Professorship, the John P. Loveland Professorship in Quality Management, the J. Paul Taylor Professorship and the Wells Fargo Professorship.