As we go into the Spring Semester, there is a lot of good news to celebrate. The state budget is in its best shape in years and there is a solid prospect for pay increases for state employees, including those who work in higher education. Recruitment of new students is going well and we have made scholarship offers to students earlier than at any time in the past. Aggie athletic teams are creating chatter across the country for their outstanding performances. To top it all off, we just recognized outstanding faculty, staff, and community members at convocation and reflecting on their accomplishments always gives me a lift.
For those of you who could not attend convocation, the ceremony begins with brief remarks by the Chancellor and me, but the real focus is on celebrating the accomplishments of faculty, staff, and community members. The first awards at convocation, for excellence in assessment, went to Housing and Residential Life and to the Department of Anthropology.
Donald C. Roush awards for excellence in teaching were awarded to: Dr. Brian Schuttefrom the Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science; Dr. Dante DeBlassie from the Department of Mathematical Sciences; Dr. Gabriela Moreno from the Department of Languages and Linguistics; Assistant Professor Paula Jean Groves from the Department of Finance; Dr. Judith Flores Carmona from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; Dr. Krishna Kota from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Dr. Cheryl Lombardi from the School of Nursing; Dr. Jennifer Smith from the Division of Career and Technology at NMSU Alamogordo; Dr. Jalal Hamedi from the Department of Social Sciences at NMSU Carlsbad; Associate Professor Elizabeth Gamboa from the Department of Math and Statistics at NMSU Doña Ana Community College; and, Ms. Gail Burke from NMSU Grants. Students nominate faculty for Roush awards, and reading the comments of students about the impact of these teachers on their lives brings home the life-changing importance of teaching.
The Presidential Medallion, which recognizes individuals outside the university who do outstanding work for NMSU, was awarded to Lou and Mary Henson. Lou and Mary are icons in this community who have worked tirelessly to make both NMSU and our community stronger. Coach Henson’s health problems prevented them from accepting their medallions in person, but I am confident they felt the positive vibrations from Las Cruces all the way to Champaign, Illinois.
The final awards were Regents Professorships, a lifetime honor that recognizes faculty members at NMSU who have demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching, research, and service. The recipients this year were: Dr. Eve Adams, Professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology; Dr. Kathryn Hanley, Professor of Biology; and, Dr. Bernd Leinauer, Professor of Extension Plant Sciences.
Congratulations to all the award winners and I hope all of you have a happy and productive spring 2018 semester.
With all best wishes,