Viles Foundation, Inc.

A 501(c)3 Non Profit Scholarship Foundation founded in 1959

Viles Foundation, Inc.

  Matie Viles
Viles Foundation News

New and Renewal applicants: The deadline for applications for the 2024-2025 school year is April 1, 2024. Applications must be postmarked by that date. ~Board of Directors

The Board of Directors has announced that 45 scholarships were awarded in May, 2023. These scholarships totaled $95,600.00.
~Viles Foundation, Inc.

New Mexico Highlands University selected Matie Viles and Ken and Sue Crimmins to co-name the new Student Residence hall on their campus. It is known as the "Matie Viles and Ken and Sue Crimmin Student Residence Hall". ~Viles Foundation, Inc.



On Wednesday May 13, 1959, the following News Release was given to the Las Vegas Daily Optic:

The first educational grants to be made by the Viles Foundation, Inc., were announced at the Award Assembly held at the Las Vegas Robertson High School, Wednesday afternoon. Recipients of the grants were Frances Gillespie and Mary Louise Tapia, graduating seniors at Robertson High.

Frances Gillespie received a four year grant of $750.00 a year. She will enroll at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Mary Louise Tapia received a grant of $450.00 a year, which will supplement her tuition scholarship from Highlands University and she will enroll at Highlands University in the fall.

The Viles Foundation, Inc., was incorporated by Mrs. Matie R. Viles to make available educational opportunities to the young people of New Mexico. Mrs. Viles has provided that emphasis be given to girls of San Miguel and Mora Counties.

Mrs. Viles is the widow of the late George A. Viles and she and her husband, for many years owned and operated the Mountain View Ranch at Cowles, New Mexico. At the time of Mr. Viles’ death in 1950, he was a stockholder and director of the Las Vegas Savings Bank and also of the Bank of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

The Viles Foundation, Inc., was chartered on March 26, 1959. Other officers of the corporation besides Mrs. Viles are, W. Morris Shillinglaw, Jr., Vice-President and Eleanor S. Wald of Albuquerque, who is Secretary-Treasurer. It is expected that additional grants will be announced later.

More than fifty years later, the Viles Foundation, Inc. has granted over two million dollars to 852 students in Mrs. Viles’ name. The foundation is designated as a 501(c)3 corporation to grant scholarships to orphan or half orphan children in San Miguel and Mora Counties.

Emiteria “Matie” Martinez Robinson Viles died in 1961. At her death, her estate was valued at $750,000.00. She bequeathed money to many friends and extended family of her husband, George A. Viles. St. Anthony’s Hospital and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, both in Las Vegas, New Mexico, also received money from Mrs. Viles.

Mrs. Viles’ Last Will and Testament (probated in San Miguel County), stated that the remainder of her estate would be given to a trust created to benefit the Viles Foundation, Inc. The Matie R. Viles Trust Under Will was managed by the Albuquerque National Bank for many years. It is now managed by the Los Alamos National Bank in Santa Fe.

Each year, the Board of Directors meets to grant scholarships. Students who have received grants in the past year are renewed if these requirements are met: a 2.0 GPA, enrollment in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester and provide a transcript from the college or university. New applications are accepted from five high schools: Pecos High School, Robertson High School, West Las Vegas High School, Mora High School and Wagon Mound High School. Requirements are: proof that at the time of graduation a student is an orphan or half orphan, provide a transcript from one of the five schools in the current year and plan to be enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per semester.

Between 15 and 20 new applications are received. Each year, the Board of Directors grants scholarships to 40 to 60 students.

The following chart lists the total amounts granted over the past fifty-six years. The information represents the students from each high school, the amount paid to the colleges and universities and the relationship between the amount granted to girls and to boys.



Totals as of 2/18/2013








High School










Mora High School





Pecos High School





Robertson High School





Wagon Mound High School





West Las Vegas High School





Miscellaneous High Schools






























New Mexico Highlands





Eastern NMU





Luna Community College

























Total as of 2013




























Total expenses for the past fifty-three years is less than three percent of the total amount of money granted. There are no fees paid other than professional fees.

Matie Viles would have been very proud of the accomplishments achieved by the Board of Directors. Because many of the students attend NM Highlands University, there has always been a strong bond between the board and the university.

An article in the Las Vegas Daily Optic on September 10, 1963 announced that twelve students would attend NMHU this fall under scholarships granted by the Viles Foundation. “Dale Gerdeman, vice president of the Viles Foundation, is shown presenting a check to Highlands University President Dr. Tom Donnelly for scholarships.”




In 2010, Alfredo “Chemo” Gallegos, founding member of a Las Vegas organization, “Los Cien de Highlands”, contacted the Board of Directors. This organization, the Hundred of Highlands, wished to donate money to the Viles Foundation.

Mr. Gallegos stated, “Los Cien de Highland is a group of alumni and friends of the university who came together more than 25 years ago to raise money to assist area students in attending Highlands University.” The group made the decision to disband, but had unused funds. Knowing the reputation of the Viles Foundation, Los Cien de Highlands donated $15,829.04. President LouElla Marr-Montoya stated, “This generous gift will allow the Viles Foundation to help even more Highlands University students complete their education.”

Eleanor Wald, Clarence Sanchez, LouElla Marr-Montoya and Alfredo Gallegos celebrate the donation by Los Cien de Highlands to the Viles Foundation, Inc. (Photograph by M. McKinney.)

   Los Cien de Highlands



Although most of the students who receive scholarship complete their education, some do not. The opportunity is, however, available. As the Fiftieth Anniversary Luncheon approached, the Board of Directors began to receive information about former students. The board was amazed at the successes. More about these students can be found in the “About Us” section of the website.

On occasion, the world around us came between students and their schooling. Such was the case of Michael Archuleta, an orphan from Las Vegas. He attended Highlands University on a Viles Foundation scholarship. In 1966, Michael was drafted into the army and served in Vietnam. He was killed during a combat mission on September 25, 1967. A Las Vegas Daily Optic described Mike “as a quite unassuming young man who had many friends on the Highlands campus and in the community. He was a bright young man who had a promising future.”

On October 4, 1967, Senator Junio Lopez from San Miguel County wrote an open letter to Thomas E. Donnelly, President of New Mexico Highlands University. In that letter Mr. Lopez suggested that a building on the campus should be renamed to honor Michael Archuleta. The Board of Regents agreed, stating “…that naming of the dormitory in honor of Archuleta was in keeping with the previously established policy it had of naming buildings for those who had brought honor to the university.”

Archuleta Hall on the New Mexico Highlands University campus was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1968.

   Michael Archuleta


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