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Regents Dedicate Torres Residence Hall

SOCORRO, N.M. October 23, 2013 – The New Mexico Tech Board of Regents dedicated the new Steve S. Torres Residence Hall after the regular monthly meeting September 26 in Socorro.

Mr. Torres, who served on the Board of Regents from 1966 to 1996, attended the ceremony, along with many members of his extended family. He delivered a short talk, thanking the current board members and the university administration.

More than 100 people attended the ceremony, with President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez and Board Chairman Richard Carpenter introducing Torres and offering praise of his leadership during his tenure on the board.

During the meeting, Lopez introduced the staff of Residential Life Office, which worked closely with special projects director Miguel Hidalgo before and during construction.

In introducing Mitch Tappen, Lopez said, “Mitch does an extraordinary job of taking care of problems before they even get to [administrators at] Brown Hall. He has an excellent staff and they’re not properly recognized often enough.”

The board heard an enrollment update, which shows that New Mexico Tech has its largest student body ever, with 2,134 students, a larger count that last year’s record number of 2,105. The fall 2013 census includes 1,604 undergraduate students and 530 graduate students.

Graduate Dean Dr. Lorie Liebrock presented early results of a new effort to develop a clear strategic plan to recruit new graduate students, develop a mission statement and streamline the operations of the Center for Graduate Studies.

She told the regents that her office is collaborating with other offices, such as the Advancement Office, Admissions and academic departments, to coordinate recruiting efforts. Her office is also examining allocation of Teaching Assistant positions in an effort to more equitably distribute funding.

In other news:

* Dr. Van Romero, Vice President of Research, reported about a recent visit by a representative of the Hilton Foundation. Romero said he and other local officials have requested about $1 million to refurbish the San Miguel Catholic Church and to help create an after-school program. The historic church building is aging and the adobe walls are in disrepair. The local parish is among the oldest in the country.

* The Board approved sabbatical leave for math professors Dr. Oleg Makhnin in the spring 2014 semester and Dr. Anwar Hossain in the fall 2014 semester.

* Vice President Melissa Jaramillo-Fleming reported on fund-raising efforts. She said fewer alumni donated to the foundation during the past year, but more money has been donated. The Advancement Office is moving its capital campaign into the active giving phase, she said. The Advancement Office has created a new donor packet, which was presented to the Board. Regent Deborah Peacock was impressed with the materials, saying that the donor packet was the best she’s seen.

* Director of Student Services Lillian Armijo reported on the recent fall Career Fair. She said 101 recruiters from 47 companies and agencies attended, including 11 companies on the Fortune 500 list. About 625 students registered and attended the event.

* The Regents learned about degrees conferred in July (three bachelor’s, three master’s and one Ph.D.) and August (2 bachelor’s and 16 master’s).

* Jaramillo-Fleming reported that the annual President’s Golf Tourney raised more than $184,000 this year. The event has provided funding for more than 250 students since its inception 20 years ago.

* While meeting as the Employee Benefit Trust, the board learned that health insurance premiums are likely to increase by 14 to 18 percent again in January. Vice President of Finance Lonnie Marquez said the Trust is slowly moving toward solvency; however, the Trust will not be breaking even in just one year, even with premium increases.

* Lopez presented the annual state request for funding for Research and Public Service Projects. Listed in order of priority are (1) The Geophysical Research Center, $936,000; (2) EMRTC, $764,400; (3) Bureau of Geology, $4.3 million; (4) Aquifer Mapping, $306,500, (5) Institute for Complex Additive Systems Analysis, $753,600; (6) Bureau of Mine Safety, $362,300; (7) Petroleum Recovery Research Center, $1.98 million; (8) Science Fair/Science Olympiad, $282,000; (9) Homeland Security, $568,000; (10) National Cave and Karst Research Institute, $465,100; and (11) Athletics, $209,000

* Regent Debra Hicks reported about a Governor-appointed working group on which she serves that has been convened to address quality improvements in K-12 education in New Mexico. She said she expects Gov. Susana Martinez to address qualifications of teachers during the legislative session in early 2014. Lopez said Tech’s main contribution to improving the quality of instruction is the Master’s of Science for Teachers program, which provides training for high school science teachers. 

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech