LAS CRUCES, N.M. — All the hard work and studying has paid off for thousands of New Mexico State University students but a select few that have gone above and beyond were recognized Friday afternoon.
The students are Taysha Ham, Kevin Culver, Roger Lilly, Michael Leslie, Eric Reed, Ryan Garcia, Aileen Cruz, Ugochukwu Ogbue, Morgan Harding and James Kilcrease.
"This kind of signifies everything I've done," said Kevin Culver graduating with a bachelor's degree in both philosophy and sociology. "The late nights, coffee and the countless hours I spent studying was all worth it."
The students excelled in the classroom while also taking leadership roles and helping the community.
James Kilcrease, receiving a doctorate in plant and environmental sciences, was diagnosed with cancer halfway through his doctoral program.
"I actually worked from the hospital on my classes on my laptop," Kilcrease said.
He said the support of family helped him get through his treatments as well as his classes.
Kilcrease then established the Aggie Cancer Survivor Scholarship to help support other cancer survivors.
As a surprise, his family contributed the remaining funds to the $10,000 endowment that will hopefully begin helping students in a year.