New Mexico Highlands University graduate students Lidia Atencio and Julianna Montenegro have been awarded $337 each from Territorial Title of Las Vegas Graduate Endowment.Kenneth and Ruth Mares, owners of Territorial Title, established the endowment at Highlands in 1997.Atencio is pursuing her master’s in vocational and rehabilitation and counseling. “Without this help, it would be very difficult for me to complete my master’s degree,” Atencio said.Montenegro, is perusing her master’s in curriculum and instruction. “This scholarship helps a lot when you have children,” Montenegro said.This is the second year the scholarship been awarded. “Last year, we awarded one scholarship and this year we have awarded two scholarships,” Ruth Mares said.The couple said they chose to create the endowment because they recognize the financial hardships many graduate students face. “It is difficult for students to continue on with graduate school,” Kenneth Mares said. “By the time most students finish their undergraduate work, they have families and othercommitments to manage.”For the past 10 years, the Kenneth and Ruth Mares have been co-owners of Territorial Title. Both are graduates of Highlands University and West Las Vegas High School.They said they also established the endowment because they feel that it is important to give back to the university; and they encourage other businesses to do the same. To donate to the fund, contact Darlene Chavez at the Highlands UniversityDevelopment Office, 505 454-3223.