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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU alumni siblings create endowment for two colleges

When three siblings (and one spouse) all graduate from the same university within a few years of each other, one might assume that university would hold a special meaning for the entire group.

three people holding big check
David and Judi Voelz (left and center) are pictured with David’s sister, Sharon at NMSU’s Giving Tuesday event.

Sharon, Brian and David Voelz, along with David’s wife, Judi, do, in fact, hold their alma mater in high esteem. All four graduated in the 1980s from New Mexico State University – Sharon earned her degrees in business, David and Brian in engineering and Judi in arts and sciences. And, all four are openly grateful for their education and the lives it afforded them.

To show their gratitude, the group created the Voelz Family Endowed Scholarship in the Colleges of Business and Engineering with the hope of providing the same educational opportunities each of the Voelzes experienced while at NMSU. Working with the NMSU Foundation to match their investment dollar-for-dollar with funds from generous donors, the Voelz family established their endowment during NMSU’s Giving Tuesday in November. Once fully endowed, scholarship dollars will alternate between the two colleges annually, reflecting the joy and satisfaction the siblings feel about their educational experiences and subsequent careers.

“By alternating the scholarship between the two colleges, we are able to support a broader range of applicants,” Sharon said. “So, more students would have the same opportunities we had.”

Sharon, the youngest of the group, has a long history of annual philanthropic support for NMSU. She was seeking ways to create a more lasting gift and came up with the idea for the scholarship. Her position as vice president of human resources for Pizza Properties Inc. (Peter Piper Pizza) in El Paso, Texas, enabled her to see, firsthand, the struggles students have while trying to take a full load of classes and work to make ends meet.

David, who is a professor of Engineering at NMSU and the oldest of the group, sees the scholarship’s advantage from an academic perspective. He said it didn’t take a lot of convincing for the rest of Voelzes to buy into the idea.

“As a professor, you impact the lives of your students by helping them grow in knowledge; you get to watch them evolve,” he said. “An endowed scholarship gives us a way to have an even greater impact on their lives – financially supporting their education and, subsequently, strengthening their goals and future careers.”

Endowed scholarships like that created by the Voelz family exist in perpetuity, providing opportunities for generations of students – and possibly student siblings – to pursue their degrees at NMSU.

“We are pleased that the Voelz family values their NMSU background enough to share the pride and success they have achieved with others,” said College of Engineering Dean Lakshmi N. Reddi. “The Voelz family scholarship is a wonderful testament to this institution and will be a tribute to their ties to NMSU for years to come. I think the resulting scholarships will be highly valued by recipients because of the Voelz legacy.”

“We all enjoyed going to NMSU; it was the steppingstone into satisfying and well-paying careers,” Sharon said. “We all felt very fortunate and believe it is important to be able to pay it forward.”

David agreed. “We’re all getting along well in our careers. And, it seemed the right time to start thinking about making a difference for students at NMSU,” he said. “It feels nice to be able to help someone else, and we will enjoy seeing success stories that result from our scholarship.”