May 17, 2019
Dear Chancellor Arvizu, President Floros, NMSU Faculty, Staff and Students,
Who is this Interim Provost President Floros is bringing in from retirement? What will she be like? Will she understand NMSU? I can only begin to imagine the many questions (those listed above and others) being asked when the announcement was made I was arriving to be the Interim Provost for seven months. Your questions were not evident, however, when you welcomed me to this beautiful campus, included me in the many academic committees, searches, student events, program reviews, accreditation visits, athletic events, holiday customs and other crimson activities. I could not have asked for a better onboarding, and a more rewarding time working here. I have lived in Sutherland Village, was graciously let into my new abode by Housing staff and received a welcome from my Residence Assistant. I walked to Hadley Hall nearly every day, greeted Santa outside my house front door, wondered at the hundreds of luminarias around Corbett Center and wished students well at the late-night breakfast events during finals week (I had to stay up pretty late to do that).
There was some slight confusion when early on, I was asked if I wanted to have lunch at Taos and I thought that seemed a very long way to drive for lunch, only to find out what our Corbett Student Center food outlet was called. There was also the first and only Higher Education Department meeting I went to feeling I was not prepared, only to find the new Secretary and her staff were doing this for the first time too! Many of you helped prepare me for border stops on I-25 and I-10 I never would have imagined; helped me enjoy New Mexico foods; gave me excellent hiking counsel; and for six-plus months my car has been just as dirty as all the others around town (much to my spouse’s horror).
You had me working hard, thank you, and I enjoyed it. I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with and begin the work of addressing the Council of Graduate Schools report with Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School Luis Cifuentes. I’ve worked in total partnership with Enrollment Management and Student Success Vice President Renay Scott to tackle retention issues, class schedules and barrier courses. Andy Burke, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance, explained the budget and NM law to me many times, mostly ignoring my puzzled expressions when he discussed the state performance model. I had the opportunity to work with a wonderful strategic planning group to help craft LEADS 2025 for NMSU. I am excited to watch from 730 miles away as you do the important work of moving this plan forward.
I got the opportunity to work with an incredible group of deans. We moved Promotion and Tenure cases forward and addressed important issues related to faculty, students, curricula and much more. I thank each one for representing their college so well, helping me understand the intricacies, and introducing me to great department heads and faculty.
I owe great thanks to so many. A special group has supported me. Each has played a part in any success I have achieved. Thanks to Kim Altamirano and Gloria Podruchny for steering me in the right direction and on time. Greg Fant for filling me in on so many things. He had to get tired of all my questions, but never showed it. Melody Munson-McGee who has a list a mile long of things that are in motion and keeps us moving forward in sync. And still remembers to send me a text about the Farmer’s market and invites me to Chopes. How do you do that? Becky Corran, who has to be the best Faculty Senate President (and hike consultant) around. ASNMSU students, who continued to show me we are in good hands with future leaders like them in our society. This week after happy commencements, I want to thank all those who make those ceremonies go without a hitch—even when you have newbies in the lead—Carley Casey, Gabrielle Martinez, Adam Cavotta, Melody and so many others.
Lastly, to President John Floros for giving me the gift of time here at NMSU, thanks, John. You are a special leader. I knew that back at Purdue when we were teenagers! I will miss working with you, talking with Trisha and being a part of NMSU. These last months have been very special. I will drive north with a smile and a tear. I will again attempt retirement, time will tell if I am successful.
I have a new special place in my heart for NMSU, Las Cruces and New Mexico.
My heartfelt thanks,