By Emily Crowe
Eastern New Mexico University has been part of B.B. Lee’s life for the better part of six decades.
Graduating from ENMU with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1952 and a master’s degree in 1957, Lees later went on to coach football, baseball, track, tennis and golf, and serve as athletic director for the school.
He met his wife while attending Eastern, and they have four children, three of whom also attended the university.
Lees, 82, is among seven outstanding individuals and alumni who will be honored at the ENMU Foundation’s 38th annual breakfast during next weekend’s homecoming celebration.
“It’s certainly an honor in the sense that Eastern’s been my life and I am very proud to be this part of it,” he said. “It’s a great honor.”
Lees’ entire family will be in attendance at Saturday’s breakfast to celebrate his distinction as Outstanding Alumni.
According to an ENMU press release, this year’s honorees also include a professor known for her giving spirit, an international media attorney and the Academy Award-winning writer of “Dances with Wolves.”
Volunteer of the Year
Patti Dobson, department chair and assistant professor of communications, started teaching at ENMU in 1992 and is also a youth minister at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Clovis.
She keeps a “food bank” in her office for college students who can barely afford college and organizes and ships military care packages. She and her husband, Wayne, also provide foster care for animals and help to find homes for abandoned pets. They currently have 15 special need dogs and a sheep.
Honorary Lifetime Award
Michael Blake studied journalism at Eastern New Mexico University from 1968-1970 and was a profile writer for The Chase. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1970s and wrote and edited for the Los Angeles Free Press.
Blake wrote the novel “Dances with Wolves” and later turned it into a screenplay. He won the 1990 Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay and the 1991 Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Dances with Wolves.
Philanthropist of the Year
Ray Hammond lives by the philosophy “Walk softly and make the world a better place.” Hammond started a scholarship in the name of his favorite ENMU instructor Fredrick Wuori, who taught economics.
“Mr. Wuori encouraged me to be a free thinker and we became lifelong friends,” Hammond said. Hammond has continued giving to ENMU. He has purchased golf balls for the Alumni Association and Eastern Athletic Club tournaments, donated rare books to the library, donated special paintings to the campus, dedicated the Caitlin A. Hammond Percussion Room, the ENMU Foundation Practice Room, the Lisa Obenhaus Practice Room and the Jim and Mary Jacobs Practice Room in the recently renovated Music Building. Hammond has donated well over $100,000 in gifts to ENMU.
Business of the Year
Garland Tillery founded Tillery Chevrolet-GMC, Inc. in 1955. Today, the organization includes three dealerships in Moriarty, Albuquerque and Los Lunas. Tillery died in 1984, leaving the dealership with four of his children Glen, Gary, Gayle and Gena.
Four of the five children having attended the university.
To honor their father, the Tillery family established the Garland Tillery Memorial Scholarship at ENMU to benefit high school seniors from Moriarty, Vaughn, Estancia, Mountainair and Manzano.
The family members have supported this scholarship for many years and have helped 25 students since inception.
Distinguished Service Award
Ernest Sanchez graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1973. He became the founding General Counsel of National Public Radio in 1974 where he worked until 1981.
An international media attorney, Sanchez has made significant contributions to the development of public broadcasting in the United States.
Distinguished Service Award
Othick studied computer science and graduated from ENMU in 1968. He is a consultant for an Albuquerque technology consultant firm. He serves on the board of directors for the New Mexico Golden Apple Foundation and the ENMU Alumni Association. Othick has fund-raised $100,000 through his directorship of the annual Alumni Association golf tournament over the past four years.