It is an honor and privilege to be the 2009 College of Education Distinguished Alum. I am a proud Aggie and a native Las Crucen. My family has been in the Mesilla Valley for about 90 years. In 1919 my paternal grandparents, the McElyeas, settled on our south farm. My maternal grandparents, the Halls, settled on our north farm in 1923. My father, Ulysses McElyea, Sr., was the first in our family to graduate from NMSU (then NM A&M) and earned a BS in chemical engineering in 1936. We have been involved at NMSU ever since.
It was natural that I, too, would become an Aggie after graduating from LCHS in 1961. I had also started dating Dave Thompson, who had been recruited from Pennsylvania to play football for the Aggies. I earned a BBA in business education, and MAT in EMD. Dave earned a BS in physical education, MAT in EMD, and an Ed S in EMD. He is also a College of Education Distinguished Alum. Our daughter, Shannon Bradley, also earned BS and MAT degrees in education, and our son-in-law, Michael Bradley, earned a BS in education. In addition to the four of us, 15 members of my extended family have at least one degree from NMSU.
My parents were always supporters of NMSU and other community organizations, and I have followed in their footsteps. I have been a member of the Alumni Association since college days and served two 4-year terms on the Executive Council, and in the fall of 2006, I was the
volunteer Interim Alumni Director. From 2001-2006 I was a member of the President’s Associates Board of Directors, president in 2003-2004, and chairperson of the Gala in 2005-2006. During that time, the PA gala again became a fund raiser for scholarships and also for the first time designated scholarship money to entice National Merit Scholars to attend NMSU. Dave and I have been active members of the Aggie Booster Club (now AAF) since college days.
Last but certainly not least, I have been active in the College of Education. Currently I am a member of the Board of Advocates, serve on the Children’s Village Board, and have worked as a fund raiser for AGGIES FOR KIDS at the Children’s Village. In addition, I worked to establish two endowments: the J. Paul Taylor Endowment in Early Childhood Education and the Warren Woodson Endowment for the Aggie football program.
In 2007, 2008, and 2009 I have been an active member of the Aggies Are Tough Enough to Wear Pink committee.
My teaching career spanned a total of 33 years-at Mayfield High School, Mayfield Night High School, International Business College, and the Doña Ana Community College-all in the classroom. While teaching at the Community College, I was given two awards: Donald C. Roush Award for Excellence in Teaching, NMSU, 1985 and National Teaching Excellence Award, University of Texas Study, 1989. What a great professional life I have had.