SOCORRO, N.M., August 27, 2002 -- New Mexico Tech President Daniel H. López has been selected by the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government (NMFOG) as one of its first recipients of the William S. Dixon First Amendment Freedom Award.

The Dixon Award is named in honor of Albuquerque attorney Bill Dixon, a leading advocate of First Amendment and public rights under the New Mexico Open Meetings and Public Records acts, and a founder and director of NMFOG. The new award has been established to honor outstanding supporters of the open government cause in New Mexico.

"Dan López understands open government because he was selected as the president of New Mexico Tech in an open process," says Robert H. Johnson, executive director of NMFOG. "He brought New Mexico Tech into membership in NMFOG, and has maintained the school's membership as the only institution of higher learning in New Mexico to commit itself to open government through its organizational membership.

"Other heads of state colleges and universities should look to him for his example," Johnson adds.

Tech President López will be presented with the prestigious award at an special dinner event on September 27 at the Sheraton Old Town Inn in Albuquerque. The awards presentation also will include a talk by Jon Wolman, senior vice president of The Associated Press, and a video acknowledgement of Dixon's longtime efforts in the defense of the First Amendment.

In addition to López, other first-ever recipients being honored this year with Dixon Awards are Jim Dines of the Dines,
Gross and Esquivel Law Firm, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, and Jeff Sterba, president and CEO of the Public Service Company of New Mexico.