New Mexico State University will award more than 2,000 degrees this week at commencement ceremonies honoring spring 2024 graduates.

NMSU will recognize students who completed graduate degrees in a ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the Pan American Center. Then, it will recognize students who completed bachelor’s degrees in two separate ceremonies at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11, also at the Pan American Center. In total, NMSU will bestow 2,032 degrees.

The Saturday morning ceremony will honor undergraduates from the College of Health, Education and Social Transformation, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, and College of Business, while the afternoon ceremony will honor undergraduates from the College of Arts and Sciences and College of Engineering. 

Dre Aguilera Guzman will be among 318 students earning degrees from the College of HEST. Encouraged by family and the students he coached at Picacho Middle School, Aguilera Guzman returned to school in 2019 after a 20-year hiatus. He earned an associate degree from Doña Ana Community College, then transferred to NMSU’s Las Cruces campus to complete a bachelor’s degree in counseling and community psychology. 

Around the time he enrolled at NMSU, Aguilera Guzman joined Facilities and Services as a student aide. He’s since worked his way up in the department, becoming a grounds supervisor in charge of the mowing crew.

“Facilities and Services has been very supportive,” he said. “Places like Chicano Programs and the library were also very helpful and helped me pick up my grades. I’m actually graduating as a Crimson Scholar because I kept up my GPA.”

Aguilera Guzman said graduating from NMSU represents a significant milestone in his life. He hopes it leads him on a path to earning a master’s degree and opening his own clinic to serve rural communities between Las Cruces and Hatch.

“I work really hard for this degree, and I hope that my grandkids and kids can see that,” he said. “I’m the first one in my family to go to college, and I’ll be the first one to graduate, too.”

Angel Amabisco will also be the first member of his family to graduate from college. Amabisco will earn bachelor’s degrees in government and Spanish.

Amabisco has long held a dream to work in government. He said he initially wanted to join the military after high school but couldn’t because he’s legally blind in his right eye. Undeterred, he decided to take another route. 

“My last option was in college,” he said. 

At NMSU, Amabisco quickly found paths to potential service careers. He joined NMSU’s highly decorated Model U.N. team, interned for U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and worked for Doña Ana County’s magistrate court. He also served as the director of public relations for the Associated Students of NMSU and president of the Arts and Sciences Council.

“Coming to NMSU was the best choice of my life, literally,” he said. “It sounds super cliche, but it’s the best choice I made. This was where I needed to be.”

This fall, Amabisco will start a graduate program in international affairs at Texas A&M University. He’s determined to work for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

“My dream is to work with refugees in South America and Central America – to help refugees the same way others have helped my family when we came into this country,” he said.

Abdalrahman Elaksher practically grew up on NMSU’s Las Cruces campus. His father, Ahmed Elaksher, is an engineering professor, and his mother, Samar Khalil, who works for NMSU Global, earned a Ph.D. at NMSU. His two sisters also attended NMSU, he said.

“When I applied to undergrad, I applied all over the country and got into some top-tier engineering schools, but NMSU was always home. I wasn’t ready to leave this community,” said Elaksher, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

As an NMSU student, Elaksher discovered passions in engineering and chemistry. He assisted in research to develop techniques to filter and purify water and later worked as an undergraduate research assistant in a chemistry lab. 

He also found many causes to support outside of the classroom. As an active member of the Muslim Student Association, he helped establish a prayer area in Zuhl Library. For several years, he served as an ASNMSU senator, representing the College of Engineering. 

When Elaksher walks across the stage at the Pan American Center this Saturday, he said he will remember those who didn’t have similar opportunities. 

“Whether it’s in our border region or in other parts of the world, we have to remember families who won’t get the opportunity to see their kids graduate or kids who won’t get an opportunity to go to college,” he said. “It’s up to us to make a difference and to help those who can’t.”

After spending years on NMSU’s campus, Elaksher said he is ready move on to his next adventure.

“I’ve done all there is to do here,” he said. “I’ve made friends with all the right people, and I’ve argued with all the right people. Someone asked me the other day, ‘Would you have gone to a different school?’ And I said, ‘I have no regrets picking NMSU.’”

The Pan American Center will open to the public one hour before each ceremony. Tickets are not required. Graduating students should also arrive one hour before the ceremonies start.

Neil Burcham, a longtime faculty member in the College of ACES who died in December 2022, will be awarded a posthumous honorary doctorate degree. Burcham was an associate professor of animal science in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences for 48 years before retiring in 2017.

The three ceremonies will also be livestreamed on NMSU’s YouTube channel. For more information, visit

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