WNMU Board of Regents Meet at State Capitol

© Western New Mexico University

The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents received updates from state leaders, accepted the FY ’22 Audit Report and second quarter Financial Certification and a revision of the Capital Project Transmittal for the Deming Learning Center during their meeting last Thursday.

The meeting followed Grant County Day at the state Legislature, a time when local representatives from the public and private sectors meet with state leaders and include highlights such as a packed house performance of Mariachi Plata de WNMU in the rotunda of the Roundhouse.

Along with a trio of $15 million asks to develop a workforce training facility in the mining district, continue the work of making the university carbon neutral by 2025, and the construction of a facility to house the newly designated New Mexico Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education, WNMU is also seeking funding for on-campus solar charging, the continued work to bring back NCAA baseball and establishing a women’s soccer team, and programming aligned with the outdoor industry through the Center for a Sustainable Future and Outdoor Programs at WNMU.

Throughout the meeting, elected leaders including Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, Rep. Luis Terrazas, Lt. Gov. Howie Morales and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham filed in, each singing the praises of the work and community-centric approach of WNMU. “This was the first university to say this [establishment of the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship] makes sense…Western led the state, that was true then and it’s true now,” Lujan Grisham said. 

Council of University Presidents Executive Director Marc Saavedra shared the legislation his organization, which is chaired by President Shepard, is involved in advancing this legislative session. Of particular interest to WNMU employees is the continued work to increase compensation by 10%. “We’re looking for a salary compensation package that we can build upon,” Saavedra said.

In his report, President Shepard shared with the board an increase in spring ’23 enrollment as compared to last academic year with overall and undergraduate student enrollment up 11.7% and 20% respectively. Noting a continued increase in enrollment going into the fall will assist in assuring WNMU tuition can remain unchanged, President Shepard pointed out, “Despite the fact New Mexico residents receive the Opportunity Scholarship, we have students that attend WNMU from out-of-state who do not, and we want to remain sensitive to that fact.”

After sharing both the university’s fiscal year 2021-2022 audit report and fiscal year ’23 financial certification, Vice President for Business Affairs Kelley Riddle noted there was nothing of concern by the end of the second financial quarter.

The board also approved the inclusion of an additional $2 million in funding for the final phase of the Deming Learning Center project, funding provided through the passage of last year’s General Obligation Bond for Higher Education ballot measure. “This additional funding will allow for construction completion and finishing touches on the building,” said Riddle.

Photo caption:The Western New Mexico University Board of Regents met in the Roundhouse following Grant County Day. From left to right: WNMU President Joseph Shepard, Ph.D., Regent Daniel H. Lopez, Ph.D., Regent Chair Mary Hotvedt, Ph.D., Regent Vice President Janice Baca-Argabright, Regent Lyndon Haviland, Ph.D., and Student Regent, Secretary/Treasurer Trent Jones

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