The Jean Thomas Endowment Scholarship is named in honor of Jean Ellis Thomas, the wife of Dr. Gerald W. Thomas who served as president of New Mexico State University for fourteen years, 1970-1984.
The New Mexico State University Faculty Women’s Club launched the Jean Thomas Endowment fund with a spring luncheon and auction held April 16, 1983, at Tegmeyer’s Restaurant. The faculty club president at the time was Mary Lou Byrne. She said, “The fund was started to establish an endowment to honor Jean for her “untiring and inspired efforts to help her husband, President Thomas, continue to make NMSU a university of the first order.” The sum raised at the auction was over $3,000. As of June, 1998 the endowment principal balance was $34,807.69.
Since the establishment of the endowment fund, Gerald and Jean have contributed regularly in order to increase the amount of money in the endowment. Other friends and admirers of the Thomases have also made contributions. Jean Thomas has had a lifelong interest and commitment to education. She was born and educated in Idaho. She taught in the elementary grades in Pocatello, Idaho before she was married. She and Dr. Thomas were married June 2, 1945. Besides her interest in the education of young people, Jean Thomas had been deeply committed to all areas of the University. She started anonymously an endowment fund for the NMSU Museum while serving as a member of the Advisory Board of the Museum.
In 1994, the Las Cruces Symphony Guild present Jean Thomas with it’s first life membership award. At the presentation, Mayor David Steinborn proclaimed Saturday, April 18th “Jean Thomas Day.” The award much treasured by Jean is the Regent’s Award. Regent Chairman John Clemente presented the award to her at a pre-commencement banquet at the University May 7th, 1983. At that time only six people in eleven years had been presented a Regent’s Award. Earlier recipients were General Hugh Mieton, William B. O’Donnell, Roger B. Corbett, Seabarn Collins, and Clyde Tombaugh. Dr. and Mrs. Thomas have three children, a son David, two daughters Peggy Jeane and Marianne and two grandchildren.
Financial Need: Not Required
Class Level: JR. SR.
Required Minimum GPA: 3.0
Required Major: Secondary Math
Required Residency: NM
Other requirements: Must have graduated from a NM High School. Preference given to a female student.