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NMSU renames Dairy Chair to honor longtime campus dairy manager Topliff

New Mexico State University's endowed dairy chair has been renamed in honor of Dairy Commissioner Chairman Lewis Topliff, a longtime dairy general manager with NMSU.

Three men in suits, standing with award
From left, NMSU College of ACES Dean Lowell Catlett and Lewis Topliff, dairy committee chairman gather at Topliff's reception. (NMSU photo by Jocelyn Apodaca)

A reception announcing the Topliff Dairy Chair took place in Gerald Thomas Hall on the NMSU campus. It was open to family and friends, including five of Topliff's seven children. Lowell Catlett, Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, presented the honor, giving Topliff a plaque in his name.

"Lewis was always 'Mr. Dairy,'" Catlett said. "He has had a role helping the College of ACES in many, many ways."

Topliff served as the dairy general manager with the university for 20 years, establishing dairy as a focal point for the agriculture industry.

Prior to shutting down more than 30 years ago, NMSU's self-supporting dairy, equipped with its own glass bottles, produced milk, ice cream and cottage cheese.

Dairy remains the number one industry economically in New Mexico.

"Hopefully, we can get more courses and increase the activity for our young leaders (4-H and FFA)," Topliff said.

Since Robert Hagevoort, an Extension dairy specialist, became the recipient of the endowed dairy chair in 2011, he has remained active with the dairies throughout New Mexico, extending training for students across the state.

"He does a great showcase of the mission's three purposes, which are to provide information, technology and science," said Jon Boren, associate dean and director of NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "Dr. Hagevoort works closely with dairy producers. What he does overlaps in education and research for the university."

A second reception will take place during the Joint Stockmen's Convention in Albuquerque on Dec. 5 at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid. The reception will begin at 1:30 p.m.

For more information, contact the director of development for the College of ACES, Terra V. Winter at tvwinter@nmsu.edu