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New Mexico State University honored its faculty and staff at the 2018 fall convocation ceremony Aug. 14 at NMSU’s Atkinson Recital Hall. Every fall and spring, convocation is held to celebrate the start of a new semester.

Group of people holding plaques
New Mexico State University faculty and staff honored during the 2018 Fall Convocation ceremony are joined by NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu, right, and President John Floros, left. Recipients of awards are, from left, Catherine Brewer, John Shonk, Elba Serrano, Jaime Ramirez-Angulo, Kathryn Hanley, Ernesto Moralez and Teresa Dean. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)
Seven were honored during the ceremony featuring remarks by Board of Regents Secretary/Treasurer Jerean Hutchinson, President John Floros and Chancellor Dan Arvizu.

“We are here to recognize outstanding faculty and staff and to prepare ourselves for the start of a remarkable semester of exceptional learning, outreach, research and personal growth,” Chancellor Arvizu said.

Regent Hutchinson thanked the faculty and staff for being an active participant in the success of NMSU students.

“You are an integral part of our successful delivery of NMSU’s Vision 2020 Strategic Plan high level outcomes – the Three Gs, which are having our students graduate on time, get a job and give back to their community,” Hutchinson said.

Chancellor Arvizu shared things he and President Floros have learned in their first few months as the university’s leaders.

“As we have been meeting people one theme has emerged over and over,” Arvizu said. “We have heard incredible stories about life-changing work that is done here every day that is making a difference in the lives of our students and the community members we serve. This tells us we have an outstanding team. It also tells us we can aspire to do greater challenges. In short we are well positioned to change the future.”

“Our goal is to elevate student success, outreach and research,” President Floros said. “We want to help our students to become productive citizens. We can do that when our faculty and staff excel at what they do.”

Arvizu and Floros briefly shared their goals for the university. They want to elevate the academic and career success of the students; enhance research activities with a focus on the most pressing challenges of the state’s communities, the region and the world; and amplify the university’s outreach with a special focus on generating jobs, building partnerships with industry and cultivating collaboration with local communities.

“We can accomplish these goals by doing better in every aspect of what we do today,” Floros said. “We have to be able to look further into the future and act today. We do this by being dedicated. We do it by caring. We do it by all the qualities the faculty and staff have shown in the past and will continue to show.”

Catherine Brewer, Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering; and Ernesto Moralez, Department of Public Health Sciences, received the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award. Named for former accounting department head Patricia Christmore, this annual award recognizes and rewards superb junior tenure-track faculty members for excellence in teaching.

Jaime Ramirez-Angulo, Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and John Shonk, Center for Academic Advising and Student Support, received the Excellence in Academic Advising Award. This award recognizes faculty and professional academic advisers for their outstanding achievement and service to NMSU’s students. Candidates are nominated by students.

Kathryn A. Hanley, Department of Biology, received the Westhafer Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity. The Westhafer Award, presented in memory of Robert L. Westhafer, a professor in NMSU’s Department of Mathematics from 1946-1957, is given in alternating years for excellence in teaching, and for excellence in research and creative activity. This year’s award recognizes Hanley’s excellence in research and creative activity.

Teresa Dean, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Extension agent in Dona Ana County, received the Distinguished Extension Award for her outstanding leadership and unwavering dedication to Extension.

Regents Professor Elba Serrano was honored for receiving the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

This award recognizes the critical roles mentors play outside the traditional classroom in the academic and professional development of the future STEM workforce. The National Science Foundation administers the program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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