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NMSU honors faculty, retired staff member during convocation ceremony

New Mexico State University faculty and staff were welcomed back to campus on Tuesday, Jan. 17, during the spring 2017 convocation ceremony at NMSU’s Atkinson Recital Hall. Every fall and spring, convocation is held to honor excellence on campus.

Group of people
NMSU faculty, administrative and community engagement award winners pose for a group photo following the 2017 spring Convocation ceremony at the Atkinson Recital Hall. Awardees include, left to right, Michael Hout, Michael Johnson, Barbara Hubbard, Vicente Lombraña, Nancy McMillan, Kenda Josselet, Jeff Longwell, Merranda Marín, Susan DeMar, Satya Rao, Fangjun Shu, Anna López, Kelcie Gerry, Karen Henry, Mike Teitsworth, María Ortiz and Matthew Holt. (NMSU photo by Andrés Leighton)

“Convocation provides all of us with the opportunity to re-connect with friends and colleagues and to recognize outstanding achievement among our faculty, staff, students and friends of the university,” said NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost Dan Howard. “It is a wonderful tradition and a great way to start the spring semester,”

Two Regents Professorships were announced, and 13 faculty and staff members, one student and one department were recognized for their excellence in teaching and service to the university and community.

During the ceremony, Chancellor Garrey Carruthers spoke about NMSU’s efforts to enhance the campus living experience, which will increase student success and retention.

“We’re holding more events in our student housing facilities and we’re bringing faculty members into our student housing areas with our faculty-in-residence program,” he said. “We’re also centralizing our advising efforts, creating micro-grants for students near graduation who need assistance and we’re taking steps to ensure student scholarship money is getting to the students who need it. Each of these efforts is important as we work to improve retention over the coming years.”

In addition, Carruthers presented the Presidential Medallion to retired director of special events Barbara Hubbard for her dedicated service to the university and the community.

Established in 2015, the Presidential Medallion recognizes retired faculty, staff, state officials or community members who have provided outstanding service to NMSU over a long period of time.

Hubbard retired from NMSU in 1998 but continued to serve as the American Collegiate Talent Showcase executive director, a position that she has held since 1978. ACTS works to raise scholarships for performing arts college students on stage and behind the scenes, and it conducts a search for college students to display their talents in the performing arts field.

At NMSU, Hubbard’s work has allowed generations of music fans in the Las Cruces area to experience first-rate shows at the Pan American Center.

Hubbard and her late husband, Peirce, created a scholarship endowment for NMSU called the Barbara and Peirce Hubbard Scholarship Endowment, one of 15 she has established at NMSU. She also has helped establish many other endowments at other schools, many with the assistance of some of the stars she first booked at the Pan American Center.

Two professors in the College of Arts and Sciences, Michael Johnson, chemistry and biochemistry, and Nancy McMillan, geological sciences, received Regents Professorships during the convocation.

The Regents Professorship, established in 2001 by the NMSU Board of Regents, recognizes faculty who have made outstanding contributions to the university’s mission and honors contributions in areas of education and research.

A panel of Regents Professors evaluates faculty-submitted nominations from throughout the university, and the committee meets to determine the awards. The recognition is accompanied by a $12,500 annual stipend.

Susan DeMar, College of Arts and Sciences, and Satya Rao, College of Health and Social Services, received the Community Engagement Award for their efforts to better New Mexico communities through partnerships and volunteer work. In addition, a student – Kelcie Gerry – of the Department of Kinesiology and Dance was recognized for her community service. The recipients are selected by NMSU’s Community Engagement Council.

Eleven faculty members received the Donald C. Roush Award. Named for a former NMSU executive vice president in recognition of his 34 years of supporting teaching improvement at NMSU, the annual Roush awards recognize NMSU faculty for teaching excellence.

This year’s recipients are Merranda Marin, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; Michael Hout, College of Arts and Sciences; Jeff Longwell, College of Arts and Sciences; Matthew Holt, College of Business; Anna Lopez, College of Education; Fangjun Shu, College of Engineering; Maria Ortiz, College of Health and Social Services; Vicente Lombrana, NMSU Alamogordo; Kenda Josselet, NMSU Carlsbad; Mike Teitsworth, NMSU Dona Ana; Karen M. Henry, NMSU Grants.

NMSU’s Center for Learning and Professional Development was recognized for its outstanding assessment process with the Outstanding Assessment Committee for Co-Curriculum, Administration and Operations Excellence in Assessment Award. This annual award recognizes outstanding assessment processes among co-curricular, administrative and operational units at NMSU.

University training specialists David Brockmeyer and Jennifer Gabel received the award on the center’s behalf.

The center was selected based on an assessment of the Aggie Leadership Training Academy, a certification program designed to enhance staff leadership talents, optimize resources and promote an environment of motivation and engaging service at NMSU.