LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico State University College of Health, Education, and Social Transformation hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly renamed autism diagnostic center and lecture hall. The Papen-Aprendamos Autism Diagnostic Center is located in O’Donnell Hall and the Aprendamos Intervention Team is the newly named lecture hall. The lecture hall inside O’Donnell Hall was refurbished and upgraded prior to the renaming.

The event was attended by Abel Covarrubias, who provided funding for the center. Covarrubias is the founder and CEO of the Aprendamos Family of Services, which provides early intervention for children ages three years and younger. “It has always been my goal to make a difference in the lives of others, and creating this center is clearly a dream come true for giving back and helping those in need,” Covarrubias said.

The event was also attended by former state Senator Mary Kay Papen, who proposed the facility through legislation. Other contributors to the center include Danny Palma, Monica Marrujo, Kerry Linnan, Kerry Palma-Szalay, Dean Palma, and Bryan Tierney.

According to NMSU, the Papen-Aprendamos Autism Diagnostic Center is the only center giving evaluations for medical autism diagnoses in southern New Mexico. “It is because of generous people like Abel Covarrubias that the NMSU Foundation is able to build pathways to the future for so many NMSU students and members of our community,” said NMSU Foundation interim president David Strong. “We appreciate Abel’s willingness to give something back to the place where it all started for him, and to leave a legacy of education and transformation.”