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NMSU’s Llorente-Ontiveros receives ‘A’ Mountain staff award

When Jeany Llorente-Ontiveros works with students in her job at New Mexico State University, she often is reminded of the reasons she, too, was drawn to the university as an undergraduate.


Three people with a plaque
New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, center, and Board of Regents Chair Debra Hicks, left, present Jeany Llorente-Ontiveros, Marketing Services’ Publications Coordinator, with the “A” Mountain staff award during the annual NMSU employee picnic Oct. 14 on the Horseshoe lawn. (NMSU photo by Andrés Leighton)

“It’s very interesting how some things don’t change – the community, the beautiful campus, their excitement and how they come to really embrace NMSU,” she said.

Llorente-Ontiveros, publications coordinator in NMSU’s University Communications and Marketing Services, was recognized by the NMSU Employee Council with the “A” Mountain staff award at the annual Employee Appreciation Picnic Oct. 14. Llorente-Ontiveros was presented with a commemorative plaque by NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers and Board of Regents Chair Debra Hicks.

“Throughout her time at University Communications and Marketing Services, Jeany Llorente-Ontiveros has served in many roles,” said Director of Marketing Services Ellen Jaffe Castello. “Jobs and assignments change, but in 14 years at NMSU Jeany has always been an invaluable asset because of her talents, expertise and a friendly, team-first attitude.”

Llorente-Ontiveros said in addition to her interactions with students, she really enjoys the people she works with.

“We’re a strong team,” she said. “We’ve developed a strong relationship and have had lots of successes and great projects.”

An Andress High School (El Paso) graduate, Llorente-Ontiveros first attended El Paso Community College. While Llorente-Ontiveros was a student at EPCC, a friend of hers enrolled at NMSU, so Llorente-Ontiveros decided to visit the Las Cruces campus.

“I liked the atmosphere and the campus,” she said. “I fell right in with the community.”

After two years at EPCC, Llorente-Ontiveros transferred to NMSU, earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She credits longtime journalism Professor J. Sean “Dr. Mac” McCleneghan as an inspiration.

“He was a very wonderful supporter,” she said. McCleneghan, who retired in 2014, encouraged his students to get their start at a newspaper, even if their focus was on public relations. Llorente-Ontiveros began her studies at NMSU in broadcast journalism, then changed to public relations. Following McCleneghan’s advice, she landed an internship at the El Paso Times, where she was later hired as a staff writer.

After about two years at the El Paso Times, Llorente-Ontiveros was hired by then-University Communications Director Karl Hill as a writer for NMSU’s news group, covering the colleges of engineering and business. Over the years, her responsibilities moved from news to marketing services. During that time, she also served as editor of Hotline and Page One, an NMSU faculty and staff newsletter.

Her husband of 11 years, Tony Ontiveros, and her brother, Jose Llorente, also are NMSU graduates.

“The Marketing Services team was thrilled to see a deserving colleague such as Jeany receive the ‘A’ Mountain Award last week for her dedication to NMSU,” Jaffe Castello said. “People all over campus have lauded her innovative and collaborative spirit. In a survey, one NMSU employee described Jeany as ‘amazing to work with.’ We agree. Congrats, Jeany!”