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Regents Report: New Scholarship Fund Opens

SANTA FE, N.M. February 12, 2015 – New Mexico Tech has a new fund that will add more than $450,000 to Tech scholarships over the next year, the Board of Regents learned at a meeting Friday, Feb. 6, in Santa Fe.

Regent Jerry Armijo told the board that the Charles F. Headen Trust has given all its assets to the university, which total more than $11.5 million. Each year, the university will receive half of the earnings to use for scholarships, with the other half of earnings being reinvested in the trust.

Armijo, who also represents the Headen Trust, said the gift was the largest ever received by the university. Charles F. “Chuck” Headen was a local Socorro businessman who passed away in 2011. Headen bequeathed the majority of his assets to Tech, and his wishes were that the trust fund would have specific beneficiaries – New Mexico Tech students.

The Regents heard both good news and sobering news about the upcoming school year. Enrollment is climbing, but the state-supported budget is not expected to grow.

Vice President of Student and University Relations Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming reported that the Admission Office is on its way to bringing in the largest freshman class ever. Paid applicants – Tech’s standard metric for gauging the incoming class – is well above last year’s pace. As of January 31, 236 new students have paid the application fee, compared with 149 at the same time in 2014.

“It’s difficult to deliver instruction with 100 more students and no new funding for instructors,” Lopez said. “With no additional revenues, it’s difficult for the state to come up with new money.”

Lopez presented an update on the 2015 Legislative Session, which will continue through mid-March.

He said the state universities have asked for a 3 percent increase in salaries for all employees, but he’s not convinced that it will be accepted. He is also trying to straighten out the state’s funding methodology for compensation.

Lopez said Tech is also asking for one-time expenditures to upgrade Banner (Tech’s administrative software package) and to fund Tech’s endowment. He is also seeking about $500,000 for architectural plans to refurbish Jones Hall.

Dr. Mary Dezember, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, updated the Board about the re-accreditation effort. She and her team – with assistance from virtually every office on campus – have drafted a preliminary report. The Higher Learning Commission will visit campus in March.

Jaramillo-Fleming presented the Board of Regents with a draft of the five-year strategic plan, which is also available on the Tech website. The Strategic Plan Committee met throughout 2014 to develop the plan and revise the university’s mission, vision and values statements.

JoAnn Salome, Director of Human Resources, presented the Board of Regents with a draft of the new employee handbook, which was last updated in 2002. Salome said the document was presented to all employees for review and comments in mid-January.

Colleen Guengerich, Director of Advancement, presented an update on fundraising efforts. She said donations are about the same as the previous year, but with more people giving. Her office also hired a consultant to host a seminar for faculty about fostering donations from alumni and other private entities. She said more than 30 faculty members attended the seminar and were enthusiastic about being involved in the efforts of the Office of Advancement.

Dr. Dave Raymond, president of the Faculty Senate, reported on two issues of interest. He said the Faculty Senate is looking at the new draft Employee Handbook. He also said faculty members are interested in participating in the upcoming search for a new president, considering that Dr. Lopez is expected to retire in mid-2016.

Lopez introduced a few new people during the meeting. New Regents Donald Monette of Socorro and David Gonzales of Farmington attended the meeting. Monette and Gonzales have been appointed to the board by Gov. Susana Martinez, but have yet to be confirmed by the N.M. Senate. Armijo was also re-appointed to the Board for a third six-year term. Lopez also introduced Dr. Richard Jimenez, the director designate of the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, Tech’s largest research division.

The Board elected officers for the coming year: Deborah Peacock is the chair and Armijo is vice-chair.

Clark Cagel of Atkinson and Co. presented four annual audits: New Mexico Tech, the Research Foundation, the Research Park Corp. and the Employee Benefit Trust.  Cagel said none of the audits showed any significant findings and that each entity is on solid financial footing.

The Board learned that one bachelor’s, two master’s and one doctorate were conferred in October and two master’s degrees and two doctorates were conferred in November. 

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech