Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Carolyn Edwards
PORTALES – Addie Swearingen was honored as the Philanthropist of the Year at the 27th Annual Friends of Eastern Foundation Breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Campus Union Ballroom at Eastern New Mexico University.
In 1909, Mrs. Swearingen moved with her parents, Oscar and Mary Peed, to the Elida community. She attended several rural schools and completed her high school education in Elida.
Mrs. Swearingen lived in Santa Fe for 28 years where she worked for 13 years in the La Fonda Beauty Shop. She and her husband began buying oil and gas leases as well as land and other mineral rights. Most of the land was in Eddy County where oil and gas were later discovered.
After living in Santa Fe for several years, Mrs. Swearingen returned to Elida to be with her mother. They sold their ranch and moved to Portales in 1978.
It was income from the gas and oil leases and other mineral rights that enabled Mrs. Swearingen to establish the Addie Swearingen Foundation Scholarship to aid Roosevelt County High School students from the communities of Dora, Elida, Floyd and Portales.
In memory of her mother, Mrs. Swearingen endowed the Mary L. Peed Memorial Scholarship in music. Music and the arts have always been an important part of Mrs. Swearingen's life. As a child and as a young woman, she longed for a $40 pump organ she saw in a Sears and Roebuck catalog. The family's income could not accommodate such a purchase, but Mrs. Swearingen's dream of buying an organ was realized many years later when she donated money to buy a custom-built 876-pipe organ for Emma's Buchanan Hall.
Mrs. Swearingen's philanthropic generosity has funded scholarships in nursing, accounting and psychology, and her support has helped the University to award Starter Scholarships. In addition to the Psychology Scholarship, she donated computers to that department to aid students in their study and field research
Mrs. Swearingen's interest in the arts extends to her extensive collection of paintings. She recently loaned a majority of her collection to the University and has donated a large Peter Hurd painting that now hangs in the Office of the President. Her art collection includes more paintings by Peter Hurd and his son, Michael, Henriette Wyeth, Fremont Ellis, as well as other distinguished artists.
Mrs. Swearingen currently lives in Portales and supports other organizations and the Baptist Church.