ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The University of New Mexico has announced that Sharon and Jerry Geist have made a $1.7 million estate gift to benefit Lobo Athletics, representing the third largest donation in the history of the Athletics Department. This planned gift will make a profound impact on the future of UNM Athletics and will count toward the $75 million goal of the "Lobo Leap to Excellence" capital campaign for Athletics, as well as the university-wide comprehensive campaign, "Changing Worlds 2020: The Campaign for UNM."
The Geists, who are native New Mexicans, have been loyal supporters of UNM for more than 40 years. They have been Lobo Club members as well as season ticket holders at both football and basketball since 1966.
"Sharon and Jerry have been dedicated UNM fans from as far back as when I was a Lobo as a student here. We are grateful to the Geists for their long history of community leadership and their generosity to the University,” UNM President Robert G. Frank said. “This gift is a lasting legacy that will impact future Lobos for years to come and I feel privileged and honored to have been a part of the process.”
Jerry Geist is currently the Chairman at Santa Fe Center Enterprises. Previously, he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of PNM. Geist received a regular Navy scholarship and graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1956. He served in the United States Navy for four years.
His wife, Sharon, attended the University of Northern Colorado and spent her career as a music teacher. She was State President of the Santa Fe Opera Guild. They are junior high sweethearts from Las Vegas, NM and have been married for 57 years.
"Sharon and Jerry are a wonderful couple who have decided to demonstrate their generosity in an incredible way," said UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs. "We are very fortunate to be the recipients of this generous contribution, and I hope that this leadership gift encourages others in this community to invest in the future of Lobo Athletics."
“Being born and raised in New Mexico, both Sharon and I have a tremendous amount of passion for the State of New Mexico, and the Lobos are major source of pride for this entire State,” said Jerry Geist. “We decided, as a family, to make this gift in order to help young men and women come to UNM, receive a wonderful education, and go on to do great things athletically and academically. We are so excited to play a part in the future success of Lobo student-athletes and help them continue to bring pride to this great State.”