Writer: Darrell J. Pehr, 575-646-3223, firstname.lastname@example.org
CLOVIS - With almost 10 years of service as a New Mexico legislator, a career in business and a lifetime of closeness to agriculture, Blake Curtis feels his new role as a regent for New Mexico State University will be a good fit.
"I have a soft spot for New Mexico State University," said Curtis, a Clovis businessman. "New Mexico State was my first real home away from home. I really loved the university and I really loved the environment."
After attending NMSU, Curtis graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1982. He served in the New Mexico Legislature from 1986 to 1995 and was House minority leader from 1993 to 1995. For almost his entire tenure in the Legislature, Curtis was a member of the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee.
"Blake Curtis possesses both strong ties to the New Mexico agricultural community and deep roots in rural New Mexico," Gov. Bill Richardson said in announcing the appointment of Curtis Monday. "His service in the state Legislature and in the local Clovis community will make Blake Curtis an excellent regent."
Board of Regents President Steve Anaya looks forward to the agricultural expertise, business insight and knowledge of New Mexico Curtis will bring to the board.
"He has a statewide presence from his service in the Legislature, and of course will be a strong representative of the Clovis area," Anaya said.
Curtis is senior vice president of management and sales with Curtis & Curtis Inc., a seed supply business based in Clovis. He is a member and former president of the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.
Curtis has had a strong connection to NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service, which has offices and programs in all 33 New Mexico counties. As a child he was active in 4-H and was a high-point individual in the statewide land judging competition, held each summer on the NMSU campus. In his business activities he has frequently turned to the College of Agriculture and Home Economics for agricultural expertise and, as a parent, involved his children in 4-H. Curtis served on the Extension Support Council, a statewide advisory board, and traveled to Washington, D.C., in that role to help secure funding for Extension Service programs.
Curtis is eager to get started as a regent.
"I'd like to continue to figure out ways to create and maintain educational excellence in the ag college and all colleges," Curtis said. "I'd like to build partnerships to keep excellent education in New Mexico. We need to tap into business expertise, retain good kids and find ways to start up new businesses and public/private partnerships."
Curtis supports the idea of broadening Extension programs being offered to residents.
"NMSU President Mike Martin's idea of universitywide Extension is the original mission of the university," Curtis said. "I've had an opportunity to understand the ideology and history of the land-grant university. Universitywide Extension is really a recognition of the original goals, ideas and missions of the university. I look forward to being a participant in that."
Curtis thanked the governor for selecting him.
"I appreciate the governor's confidence in me," Curtis said. "It's a humbling experience to have the governor appoint you to a position like this."
Curtis is a former member of the New Mexico State Fair Commission, the board of directors for the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce's balloon rally and New Mexico Seedmen's Association.
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