On December 6, 2012, the NMHU Foundation honored our Legacy Makers. These individuals and families and institutions have selflessly given of their time and resources to NMHU and to improve the lives of thousands of students over the years.


Sam and Ethel Ballen 

Owners of the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, Sam also served on the NMHU Foundation Board and was a strong supporter of NMHU programs. Sam and Ethel understood that the heart of education was the teacher in the classroom and the interaction with students. To that end, the Ballens established the Ballen Visiting Professor Award.


Dr. Robert Bell and Dr. Stirling Puck 

As an avid scholar and collector of art prints, Robert Bell has enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with artists and others in the Highlands community.  As a result, Highlands has a print collection more extensive than most major research universities possess.  Dr. Bell’s quarterly lectures on the print collection attract both students and community members.  Dr. Puck, a research scientist, has collaborated in donations to Highlands.


Ken and Sue Crimmin 

Sue Crimmin worked for many years for New Mexico Highlands University and Ken Crimmin purchased the Las Vegas Credit Bureau.  The Ken and Sue Crimmin Scholarship is restricted to graduating seniors from Robertson High School and West Las Vegas High School.  During the past 25 years this fund has been in operation, the Cimmin Scholarship has financially supported approximately 240 students.


Ivan J. Hilton

In 1949, Ivan Hilton organized the First National Bank and served as both president and chief executive officer for many years. Through the years, he served as state senator, mayor of Las Vegas, board member and chairman of New Mexico Normal University and Highlands University Board of Regents, president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce and member of the State Highway Commission. The Hilton Science Center is dedicated in his honor for his years of service to the university and the community, and sits on land he gifted to NMHU.


Ilfeld Family 

Helping Highlands was only one of many contributions the Ilfeld family made. The most iconic building on campus is the Ilfeld Auditorium used for campus and community events such as dramatic and musical performances, lecture series, movies and other special events.


Mike and Patricia Koldyke

Founders of the Golden Apple Awards and the Academy for Urban School Leadership in Chicago, the Koldykes are passionate supporters of education for all. Of particular concern to them are educational opportunities for Native American students.  They have been very supportive of Highlands’ athletic programs.  Mike Koldyke has served on the NMHU Foundation board and the


Levenson Family

As local bankers, the Levenson family has been long-time community benefactors; supporting Highlands, its students and programs generously. Robert Levenson has been succeeded by his son, Greg, as President of Southwest Capital Bank, formerly known as the Bank of Las Vegas. The Levensons recently established The Cowgirl Way Endowment providing scholarships for NMHU women athletes.  Greg has recently joined the NMHU Foundation board.


Los Alamos National Security, LLC

Other than their role as a national laboratory, a key goal of the Los Alamos enterprise is the support and development of New Mexico communities.  An important part of this effort is the encouragement of students to gain education and experience.  Additionally, LANL has established a five-year $500,000 contribution for staff development activities for NMHU faculty.


Ray and Joyce Litherland

Ray Litherland serves on the Foundation board. The couple supports the Middle School Teachers Initiative, which empowers New Mexico educators to better reach students at one of the most critical times in their school years.  The Middle School Teacher’s endowment is for middle school teachers to pursue their master degrees in education.  The Litherlands and Community 1st Bank have contributed to educational, academic and special programs of the university.


Frank and Kathleen Marchi

These Highlands alumni love the university and do all they can to enhance its service to students and to New Mexico.  Frank has served on the NMHU Foundation board since its inception, and is now an emeriti member of the Foundation since his appointment by Governor Susana Martinez to the NMHU Board of Regents.


Colonel William Salman Family

At a time when private scholarships for Highlands’ students were uncommon, Colonel Salman annually provided support to a dozen to 20 students. Colonel Salman moved to northern New Mexico after World War II and restored the divided Romero Land Grant which became the Salman Raspberry Ranch, still in operation. His family runs the raspberry fields and the ranch itself.


Leveo and Patricia Sanchez

Leveo Sanchez has devoted much of the past 30 years to overseeing the well-being of the University. Mr. Sanchez is president of the NMHU Board of Regents having been appointed by Governor Bill Richardson. He was a member of the original foundation board and served for 21 years, 12 of them as board president.  He has personally funded such projects as summer readiness programs for entering freshmen, multiple scholarship endowments, and special projects of the foundation in support of the university.


Carmen Schein

Carmen Schein chose Highlands as a partner in her goal to help poor but deserving Indonesians get the education necessary to help their country modernize and develop economically.  Mrs. Schein did not attend Highlands, but a brief encounter as she traveled to establish her first home in New Mexico led to her support of the university.


Lorraine Schula

Lorraine Schula was a native of Grand Prairie, Texas but lived most of her adult life in Albuquerque, arriving in the mid-1930s to attend UNM. She became an employee of the U.S. Forest Service and was an amateur artist and collector of the arts. Upon her death she left a number of bequests to the visual arts programs of the smaller universities in New Mexico, including Highlands.


Taichert Family

A pioneer Las Vegas merchant family, the Taicherts made a significant donation to help bring outstanding scholars to Highlands to interact with faculty and students. The Taicherts were local merchants who owned a clothing store on Douglas Avenue. Their heirs donated the building to the NMHU Foundation, and it was sold for approximately $100,000. This was matched by the state, dollar for dollar, and the proceeds founded an endowed scholarship.


George Talbot and Dr. Sheryl Talbot

Dr. George Talbot and Dr. Robert Bell were classmates at Yale Medical School and formed a lifelong friendship. In the years since their time at Yale, Dr. George Talbot left academia to become a consultant, and Dr. Sheryl Talbot has retired from her immunology and allergy practice. For many years the two families have shared their love of prints and posters with the university to the great benefit of our art department and all of NMHU’s students.


Emiteria Martinez Robinson Viles

Emiteria, affectionately known as “Matie,” was adopted by the Elizabeth and Isaiah Robinson family after the death of her parents and grandparents. When her husband died in 1950, Matie decided to use the money he had made in the stock market to help young girls who were orphaned have opportunities that she did not. In 1959, the first scholarships with her goals in mind were awarded in Matie’s name.


Beverly Washburn

Longtime teacher Lottie Wood Washburn’s educational legacy continues through a $1 million endowment her son, Beverly W. Washburn, a successful engineer, established with the New Mexico Highlands University Foundation.  Each year, the Lottie Wood Washburn Endowment is expected to fund scholarships for residents in and around Raton, Wagon Mound, and the former coal camps of Sugarite and Van Houten, who attend Highlands University.


John Wilson

John Wilson was the founding president of the NMHU Foundation who set a high standard for those that followed through both his leadership and philanthropy. He was a graduate of Highlands University where he received his bachelor of arts degree and later his masters’s degree in industrial arts. He became a manager in the Tandy Company in 1951. He became president of the Tandy Corporation in 1974 and later became president of the board for Color Tile, Inc. NMHU’s gymnasium is named in his honor.

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