WNMU Holds Ribbon Cutting at New Gallup Campus

WNMU Cut the Ribbon at the New Gallup Learning Center on May 20 (L-R: WNMU Student Regent Trent Jones, Assistant Secretary for Native American Early Education and Care Cotillion Sneddy, WNMU College of Education Dean Debra Dirksen, WNMU President Joseph Shepard, Gallup Mayor Louie Bonaguidi and N.M. Rep. Patricia Lundstrom)

© Western New Mexico University

WNMU held an open house and ribbon cutting for the WNMU Gallup Learning Center on May 20. While WNMU has had a Gallup campus in the past, with the new center, WNMU renews its commitment to offering its education programs to students from McKinley County and surrounding areas.

Located at 425 N. 7th Street, the center will offer bachelor’s level programs in elementary education, secondary education, special education and early childhood.  The university plans to start offering courses at the location in the fall.

WNMU had a campus in Gallup that closed ten years ago. With its return to the area, the university is starting small, with plans to grow the program in the future. In addition to offering courses for new students, WNMU also welcomes students who are returning to school, current teachers who are seeking certification in a new field, and those with degrees in other fields who wish to change their career path. The main campus also has a graduate program in education that the university hopes to expand.

WNMU President Joseph Shepard, who spoke at the event, said that the university has been planning the return to Gallup because of the teacher shortage in New Mexico. “Gallup has always had a high need for teachers, as our state has as well,” said Shepard, “Western New Mexico University started its roots as a teacher college and it was a natural fit for us to come to Gallup and continue that tradition.” He noted that the university intends to form partnerships with Diné College, the Navajo Nation and Zuni Pueblo.

Shepard especially praised NM Rep. Patricia Lundstrom and NM Sen. George Muñoz for advocating for the university’s return to McKinley County and securing funding for the endeavor. Lundstrom, who attended the event, said, “What I really appreciate about WNMU is that it helps us with growing our own teachers . . . I think it’s a great addition to our community.”

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