Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Janice Cowen
PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University will present the Outstanding Alumni Awards at the 29th Annual Friends of Eastern Foundation Breakfast during Homecoming activities in the Campus Union Ballroom on Saturday, Oct. 9.
Those receiving awards include Dr. John D. Kiker, Sarah Mitchell, Al Whitehead, Earlene Price, and Kim Sanchez Rael.
The following are biographies of the recipients.
Outstanding Alumni Awards
Dr. John D. Kiker
Dr. John D. Kiker graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and math, and from the University of New Mexico Medical School in 1978. After completing an internship in surgery at the University of Texas San Antonio in 1979, he returned to Albuquerque to complete a residency in urology at UNM in 1983. Kiker moved to Roswell and entered private practice as a urologist. He is board certified by the American Board of Urology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, serving as New Mexico state president for this organization. Kiker has over 20 medical publications and enjoys teaching UNM residents-in-training and ENMU-R nursing students. In 1999 he formed Abundant Life for All (ALFA) Ministries in Yelahanka, India. He has since traveled there to help in ALFA's orphanage, trade school, and Christian training center. Recently, a renewed interest in painting has led him to become an understudy of landscape artist Irby Brown of Santa Fe. He has exhibited his work in several juried shows and profits from the sale of his paintings are used to help bring encouragement and help to the lives of those in need.
Dr. Sara Mitchell graduated from Eastern in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in French and English. In 1971, she returned to Eastern and earned a master's degree in secondary education, and an educational specialist degree in education administration in 1981. Mitchell graduated with a doctorate degree in education from the University of New Mexico in 1996. She has clearly distinguished herself in the field of education and with many contributions to her community. As the director of the Clovis Alternative School, she worked with community agencies regarding special needs of students and families. Mitchell served as internal coordinator for district-wide strategic planning and coordinator of staff development for Clovis Municipal Schools. While an instructor at Clovis Community College, she was responsible for implementing the first campus interactive television course for the English department. She received the Woman of the Year Award at Eastern in 1966 and Clovis Educator of the Year Award in 1985. Mitchell resides in Albuquerque and is C.E.O. of Hardly Dogs Greeting Card Company, works as an educational consultant, and has authored several publications.
Distinguished Service Awards
Albert E. (Al) Whitehead
Al Whitehead enrolled at Eastern in 1948 after being awarded a football scholarship. In 1950, his junior year, he was called to serve in the U.S. Army. He served in Korea with the Combat Engineers and was discharged in February of 1953. He returned to Eastern to complete his education, and in 1954 was elected student body president. Graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1955, Whitehead started a life-long career in the oil business with Union Oil of California in Midland, Texas. His career led him to Canada in 1959, where he was vice president of Altair Oil and Gas Company. He has founded and co-founded several oil companies and is currently chairman and C.E.O. of Empire Petroleum Corporation in Tulsa, Okla. Whitehead has been a member of the ENMU Alumni Board since 1985, serving on many important committees and supporting the alumni scholarship program. As a former Greyhound, he remains active in the ENMU Bench Club and helps with many fundraising activities. Whitehead is very instrumental in encouraging others to volunteer, whether it is for membership on the Alumni Board or support for various programs on the Eastern campus.
Earlene graduated from Eastern in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in physical education, history and English. She taught 16 years in the Aztec School District, most of those years teaching English at Aztec High School. Before retiring in 1993, Price served as the government counselor at New Mexico Girls' State, site director for New Mexico Association of Student Councils Workshop, and taught part-time at San Juan College in Farmington. She serves as president of the board and interim director of the Navajo United Methodist Center in Farmington, a transitional living facility for survivors of domestic violence, and is a writing consultant for Safer New Mexico Now, an advocate for child safety in the state. Since 1989 she has been a member of the Alumni Board of Directors. Price's participation, leadership, and experience on the board are invaluable, and she has served as president, vice president and treasurer of the organization. As a member of the ENMU Legislative Affairs Committee, she speaks with state legislators and officials about the distinctive role Eastern plays in higher education and the needs and priorities of the institution. In 1988, Price and her husband, Joe, established the Jay Price Memorial Scholarship in memory of their son who attended school at Eastern. This scholarship has benefited 20 Aztec High School students and led them to various career fields including education, law, nursing, and journalism.
Honorary Lifetime Alumni Award
Kim Sanchez RaelKim Sanchez Rael is a venture partner of Flywheel Ventures, a Santa Fe-based seed-stage venture capital firm. She has a tech industry operational and financial background along with a strong entrepreneurial history, and expertise in university and laboratory commercialization. Rael was a founder and investor in Qynergy Corporation and served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer. Qynergy, based in Albuquerque, is backed by In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. Before Qynergy, she was employed at Intel Corporation for seven years. As a native New Mexican, Rael has invested heavily in the public sector and nonprofit community. She began her public service career as a Legislative Aide to United States Senator Jeff Bingaman in Washington, D.C. She is currently a member of the New Mexico State Board of Finance, a director of the Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation, and an advisory board member for the Arts Alliance. In 2002 and 2003, Rael was named one of the state's top 40 "Power Brokers" by New Mexico Business Weekly. Rael holds a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a master's of business administration degree and certificate in public management from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.