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NMT Regents Select Dr. Stephen Wells As New President

SOCORRO, N.M. February 18, 2016 – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents introduced Dr. Stephen Wells as the university’s new president.

Wells is the current president of the Desert Research Institute in Nevada. He formerly was a professor at the University of New Mexico for 15 years.

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Dr. Stephen G. Wells

“This is quite an honor,” Wells said. “New Mexico Tech has been a top tier university for its educational system. I’ve had students from this institution and I know what your alumni can do. I’m very happy to be here. … We are ready to roll up our sleeves and continue the good work that Dr. Lopez has done. For me to come back and help the state of New Mexico and the city of Socorro is a dream come true."

Regent Myissa Weiss said, “He seems like a president who can really inspire something in people, come up with ideas and get people to rally around … I feel like he will be an extraordinary president.”

Regent Jerry Armijo said that Wells is a strong administrator with extensive experience at the CEO level. Armijo also said hiring Wells presents a two-for-one benefit. He said Beth Wells is deeply involved in STEM programs at the K-12 level.

Board chair Deborah Peacock said, “Dr. Wells understands how universities fit in with the community, state, national and international environments – and with other universities, community colleges and K-12.”

Wells will replace Dr. Daniel H. Lopez, who retires June 30 after 23 years as president.

“Dr. Lopez has been our leader and champion for 23 years,” Regent Jerry Armijo said. “We’ve seen unprecedented growth during his tenure. He has been a valuable resource to the Board of Regents, the university and the state of New Mexico. I can’t fully express our extreme gratitude to Dr. Lopez for his service to the university. His legacy will be forever etched upon New Mexico Tech.”

The Board announced its decision at its meeting in Socorro to a packed house of faculty, students, staff, local residents, and the media. Dr. Wells then addressed those in attendance.  The Board approved a five-year renewable contract to begin July 1.

“I’d like to thank the entire campus community for taking part in this rigorous process,” Peacock said. “As a Board, we are very encouraged to see so many people attending the open forums and responding to our online surveys. New Mexico Tech is truly a special place and the people of Tech are what set us apart.”

The Board started the search process in May 2015 by forming a search committee. The job was first advertised in September 2015. That committee held numerous campus meetings to solicit input from all employees and local residents. In January the Board narrowed its search to five candidates, each of whom spent a day on campus meeting employees and fielding questions.

-- NMT --