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Dean issues $10,000 challenge to support NMSU's Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine

Garrey Carruthers isn't just the dean of New Mexico State University's College of Business, or NMSU's vice president for economic development. He's also a wine aficionado who has issued a $10,000 challenge for others to help support the university's Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine.


Photo of the Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine.
NMSU's Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine is a beverage management laboratory completed earlier this year inside Gerald Thomas Hall. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

"This facility is a great addition to the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management," Carruthers said. "In particular, it provides an opportunity to expand students' knowledge of how wine fits into the hospitality management business."

The Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine is a beverage management laboratory completed earlier this year inside NMSU's Gerald Thomas Hall. Lawrence, known throughout the area as the "Southwest Wine Guy," passed away in 2010. His wife, Marion, established the academy with a $250,000 gift to the university.

Carruthers and his wife, Katherine, will match all donations made to the academy, up to $10,000, to help create an educational program to accompany the facility. The program will help students learn more about wine, including how to pair it with food and which types of wine glasses work best for particular styles.

"The Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine is important to the school," said Janet Green, director of the School of HRTM. "This will raise the bar for the types of events we can do that include the serving of wine. Without a gift like this, we would have a facility without a program."

The School of HRTM already has a beverage management class and a basic wine education course. Green said the grant will help build on those in the recently completed academy of wine. The facility has a design reminiscent of a Tuscan wine cellar, with natural travertine floor and granite-topped wine tables, wine chillers and space for students to both learn and study.

Lawrence was known around Las Cruces as a wine and food expert. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and the Culinary Institute of America. He taught about wine at area wine festivals, wrote about wine for Sabroso magazine and had his own wine blog. Lawrence also had a successful media career.