By: Ralph Arellanes, State Director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in New Mexico and Chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable of New Mexico
The search for a new University of New Mexico President began with a meeting at UNM on August 30th, 2011. I am proud and honored to be selected to serve on this all important presidential search for the University of New Mexico. We hope to have our next president selected by January or February of 2012.
UNM was founded by an act of the New Mexico Territorial Legislature in 1889, the University opened its doors in June 1892, twenty years before its namesake would become a state. At the time there was no system of public elementary or high schools in the territory.
The University of New Mexico is the state’s largest institution of higher education and its flagship.Today, the Albuquerque campus is home to approximately 29,000 students and another 9,600 faculty and staff occupy more than 300 facilities residing on 789 acres in the heart of the largest metropolitan area in the state.
The annual operating budget for UNM is $2.04 Billion dollars with an annual payroll of $800 million. UNM is a research institution that serves as an incredible economic engine that drives the state’s economy. These out-of-state revenues supported $620 million dollars in economic output, 6,839 jobs and $319 million dollars in payroll.
The next president that we select will be the one who is best equipped to address the needs of our state and country in the next 20, 30 or 40 years. We have seen the demographics changing rapidly in our country and as of the 2010 Census, New Mexico officially became the only Hispano majority state in the country.
So along with an ability to raise funds for the University and an ability to manage a diverse workforce, the next president will need to have extensive experience in working with the Hispano community and have very close ties to the New Mexico Hispano community.
After all, UNM is situated in the heart of the “Land of Enchantment”. It is the majority population -the Hispano community-, that will be most affected by the next president of the University of New Mexico.