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Students win ‘A Grand in the Stands!’ at Aggie basketball games

Throughout the 2018-19 New Mexico State University men’s basketball season, the NMSU Foundation awarded seven $1,000 scholarships to Aggie students who were randomly selected in a drawing called, “A Grand in the Stands!”


Six people standing around a big check.
Alyssa Magana, third from left, is one of seven winners of "A Grand in the Stands!", a $1,000 scholarship giveaway sponsored by the NMSU Foundation. The giveaway asked students to enter the drawing using their Aggie ID at the games. A giant, spinning wheel contained every registered student’s name, and at the start of halftime, one name was picked. Magana was picked during the NM State vs. GCU game on January 10. (Photo by Chase Cordova)
Hundreds of students dressed in white standing and cheering.
A sea of students fill the stands at the NM State vs. GCU game on January 10. It was one of seven games selected during the NM State men’s basketball season to host “A Grand in the Stands!”, a $1,000 scholarship giveaway sponsored by the NMSU Foundation. Ticket numbers show a 16 percent increase in student attendance at the selected games compared to last year. (Photo by Chase Cordova)

The giveaway asked students to enter the drawing using their Aggie ID at selected, home basketball games. A giant, spinning wheel contained every registered student’s name, and at the start of halftime, one name was picked, including Alyssa Magana.

“Walking down from the crowd was amazing. I couldn’t stop smiling,” said Magana, who is studying chemical engineering. “It was so weird because right before they called my name, I had a tingly feeling in my fingers. It was like I knew they were going to call my name.”

Each winner received the scholarship the following week to apply directly to their spring tuition.

“Even though we made it a random drawing, we had a great mix of students from all backgrounds,” said Tina Byford, interim vice president of University Advancement. “This group of Aggies truly represents the diversity that exists at NMSU, but the scholarship is helping them all in the same way. The Board of the NMSU Foundation made this possible. It’s with their help that we supported a few deserving Aggies while also engaging a large portion of the student body in a new and exciting way.”

According to ticket numbers provided by NM State Athletics, the giveaway helped increase student attendance overall by 16 percent when compared to the attendance at the same home games from last year. The numbers show at the home game against California Baptist on March 9 – the final “A Grand in the Stands!” giveaway – student attendance reached 1,009, which increased from 246 students who attended the same game during the previous season.

Magana, who is from Deming, says she didn’t plan to attend the game until she heard about the drawing.

“I don’t think I would have gone to the game only because for me, when I won, the game was during winter break,” she said. “I went, and I know there were a lot of students who went just for the slim chance to win the scholarship. To the NMSU Foundation, thank you for this opportunity. Because of you, I am one step closer to being an NMSU graduate.”

To see a video of all seven winners collecting their prizes, visit https://support.nmsu.edu/grand.