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Ray to receive NMSU’s Memorial Staff Award at reception Nov. 16

As director of the New Mexico State University American Indian Programs and an Aggie alumnus, Michael Ray was selected as the award recipient for the 2016 Stephen W. and Robert E. Roberts Memorial Staff Award.


A man poses next to a tree on the NMSU campus.
Michael Ray, director of New Mexico State University's American Indian Programs. (NMSU photo by Savannah Montero)

This achievement is presented annually to one staff member of NMSU who has made a positive contribution to the community and college.

“It always feels great to be noticed for the work we do,” Ray said. “I know there are many of us on campus that wear many hats and do more with less. In receiving this honor, I’m glad we bring light to the co-curricular education that staff members give the students outside of the classroom.”

A reception for this honor will be Thursday, Nov. 16, from 3 to 5 p.m. The gathering will be in the Otero Room, Room 126 on the first floor of Corbett Center on the NMSU campus. Family, friends and colleagues are invited to celebrate Ray’s exceptional service to our campus and the local community.

Ray is of Laguna Pueblo and Red Lake Chippewa heritage. He grew up on the Laguna Indian Reservation for the majority of his childhood and attended all of the educational programs that the reservation offered, while being enrolled in Acoma High School. Ray attended various educational institutions: New Mexico State University-Grants, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, University of Pennsylvania, and New Mexico State University. He worked as the American Indian Programs student program coordinator for five years.

Now working as the director of American Indian Programs, he has helped students find their niche in higher education and has made a positive impression on making learners feel accepted and become aware that NMSU is a community away from community.

Ray was asked about the best part of his occupation.

“The best part is being a part of the conversation of how NMSU values its Native American community,” Ray said. “My position as director helps me be part of those conversations and to be an active voice, not only for our Native American communities, but all of our Diversity and Inclusion programs as we all work toward making NMSU a great place for all and honoring its land-grant mission.”

Ray’s primary goal for the program is still a work in progress: generating a more comprehensive atmosphere at the American Indian Student Center.

Ray was nominated for the award by several staff members, one being Laura Gutiérrez-Spencer, NMSU director of the Chicano Programs.

“Mr. Ray has exceptional organization skills,” Gutiérrez-Spencer said. “He administers 14 scholarships and two tribal memoranda of understanding, in addition to two administrative accounts. He supervises a full-time administrative assistant, three office student employees and four undergraduate peer-mentor employees.”

For more information about the reception, contact NMSU Training Specialist Greg Smart at 575-646-7013 or by email gsmart@nmsu.edu.