Dave and Eula Fern Thompson

Dave and Eula Fern Thompson

Dave Thompson, the next- to- youngest of seven children, was born in Tarentum, PA. He graduated from Tarentum High School in 1959. As a successful high school football player, he was recruited by Warren Woodson to play at NMSU. During his four years, he played in two Sun Bowls and on the undefeated 1960 team. In 1962 he was named Greatest Aggie for the year and was co-captain of the team. When Dave first arrived in New Mexico, he couldn’t imagine a hotter or dryer place on the planet. He was ready to return to Pennsylvania but was talked out of it by one of the coaches. New Mexico continued to grow on him; he decided to stay in Las Cruces teaching general science, physical education and coaching football, golf, baseball and track at Las Cruces High School. He worked for the Las Cruces Public Schools for 30 years and retired in 1994 as the Associate Superintendent of Human Resources. During that time he earned a Masters of Educational Management and Development and an Education Specialist in School Administration from NMSU.

In December 1964 he married Eula Fern McElyea. For the next 30 years while working for the schools, he also learned how to grow pecans on the McElyea family farms. He has continued the farm work ever since. He has been active in St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, the Breakfast Optimist Club, Aggie Booster Club, and NMSU Alumni Assoc. In 1992 he was named the College of Education Distinguished Alumni. He was also inducted into the New Mexico Activities Association Hall of Fame. He is also in the Aggie Hall of Fame as a member of the 1960 undefeated Sun Bowl team. Eula Fern McElyea Thompson, a member of pioneer Las Cruces families, was born in El Paso. She attended schools in Las Cruces and graduated from Las Cruces High in 1961. She was a cheerleader all during high school and met Dave at a LCHS basketball game in 1959.She enrolled at NMSU in fall, 1961, majored in business education and graduated in December, 1964. While attending NMSU she was a member of Chi Omega sorority, Associated Students, and was named the NMSU Sun Carnival Princess.

In the fall of 1965 she began teaching business classes at Mayfield High School and continued until December 1968 when she became a mom. After taking a semester off, she taught ten years at Mayfield Night High School. She then took time off to complete her Masters of Educational Management and Development. For the next three and one-half years she taught business classes at International Business College. Her final fourteen years as a business teacher were at DACC. In 1985 she received the Donald C. Roush Award for Excellence in Teaching and in 1989 the National Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas. She retired in 1998 as an NMSU Full Professor. Since her retirement she has enjoyed being Memo to four grandchildren and is the president of McElyea’s Inc. She is active in the NMSU College of Education and serves on the Board of Advocates and the board of Myrna’s Children’s Village. She also worked to establish the J. Paul Taylor Endowment in Early Childhood Education and the Warren Woodson Endowment for the Aggie football program. In 2009 she was named the College of Education Distinguished Alumni. In 2006 she was honored as a recipient of the YWCA REACH award. She is also active in the NMSU Alumni Association. At St. Paul’s United Methodist Church she is the coordinator of Care Ministries and serves on the Scholarship Committee.


Class Level: JR. SR.
Required Minimum GPA: 2.5
Required Major: Elementary Education with physical education emphasis OR secondary education with business education teaching field
Required Residency: NM/U.S. Citizen