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NMSU to honor Papen, Zuhls during spring commencement ceremonies

New Mexico State University will honor John Papen as well as Herb and Joan Zuhl during the spring 2011 commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Pan American Center. Tickets are not required. The Pan American Center will open an hour before each ceremony.


The morning program will include candidates for degrees from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Engineering and the College of Extended Learning. The afternoon program will include candidates for degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and the College of Health and Social Services.

Papen was an executive vice president of Wells Fargo, serving for nearly 50 years in several capacities at the bank. He is now on the bank's community board.

Papen received his bachelor of business administration degree from NMSU in 1968. He later earned degrees from the Colorado School of Banking at the University of Colorado and the National Commercial Lending School at the University of Oklahoma.

He was named an outstanding alumnus of the NMSU College of Business in 1988 and as the college's distinguished alum in 1997. In 2002, he was inducted in the NMSU Business Hall of Fame.

Papen was a member and president of the NMSU President's Associates and past president of the La Mesa Lions Club, receiving the Melvin Jones Award for Service. He was a member of the New Mexico Bankers Association, serving on various committees. He has been president and director of the Western States School of Banking, and past president for the New Mexico Amigos, where he currently serves as treasurer. In 2009 the Las Cruces Rotary Foundation and Rotary International named him a Paul Harris Fellow.

Papen has served many years on the executive board of the NMSU Aggie Sports Association including as president. He served as president of the Sertoma Club and as a director and member of the Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce. He was also a board member and president of the Las Cruces Country Club and Picacho Hills Country Club. Papen is currently on the NMSU Foundation Board as treasurer and chairman of the Finance Committee. He is also president of the NMSU Sports Enterprise Corporation, the fund raising arm for athletics.

The Zuhls moved to Las Cruces in 1990, bringing their collection of petrified wood, along with their ingenuity, vision, strong sense of community and deep commitment to education.

Herb received a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a master's degree from New York University, after which he worked as a chemist. He is an active 32nd degree Mason, an avid golfer and enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson and BMW motorcycles. In 2002, he completed a solo motorcycle tour of Northern New Mexico.

Joan, whose artist's name is Joan Talty, was educated in fine arts at Sarah Lawrence College, the renowned Art Student League and the Pratt Institute of New York. She enjoys a reputation as a prominent artist and her emotive, prize-winning works are displayed at NMSU, the New York Public Library, and at national exhibits, private collections and galleries. She continues to be active in both the local and national art community, and as a member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She is also a lifetime member of the Arts Student League of New York.

In 1970, the Zuhls started Russell-Zuhl, a Manhattan-based company that crafted and sold large, polished pieces of petrified wood. Still today, Herb continues to be a devoted curator and interpreter of the collection and often greets visitors to the NMSU Zuhl Collection at the Alumni and Visitor's Center.

The NMSU Library, which opened in 1992, was formally dedicated as the Zuhl Library in 2000 in recognition of their $3 million trust and pledge, as well as other gifts. The Zuhl Geological Collection can also be found at the NMSU Alumni and Visitor's Center and the recently renovated Gardiner Hall. An endowment has been created by the Zuhls for the care, enhancement and enlargement of this collection in perpetuity.