By Tony Parra
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Pauline Ponce of Roswell to the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents, according to a press release on Wednesday.
Ponce will be replacing outgoing regent Blaine Hess of Roswell.
Ponce said she received a call from Richardson on Tuesday about the appointment. Ponce said she attended ENMU-Roswell and ENMU in Portales and received her education specialist degree in 1980. She said that in all, she has received three degrees from ENMU.
“I’ve been fortunate to receive a college education from Eastern,” Ponce said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me. I’ll be able to look at recruitment, graduating seniors and non-traditional students. This is an opportunity for me to combine all my experience as an educator and legislator to help craft the future of ENMU.”
Hess served his four-year term and the term concluded in December. Ponce served in the New Mexico Legislature from 2000 to 2004. She was also a former superintendent for the Roswell Independent School District, according to the press release.
“She is going to bring a good perspective to the institution,” ENMU president Steven Gamble said. “She was one of our biggest supporters as a legislator. In legislation, she was known for doing her homework.”
Ponce said she served in a capacity as educator, assistant superintendent and superintendent for 29 years for the Roswell Independent School District. Ponce currently serves as an at-large member responsible for legislative activity for the New Mexico School Administrators.
“Universities are playing a pivotal role in my administration’s efforts to create jobs and move New Mexico forward,” Richardson said in a press release. “I will work with these new regents to hold universities more accountable, increase graduation rates and prepare students for high-wage jobs.”
Gamble said Ponce and new student regent Diego Espinoza will be introduced once they have been confirmed by the senate during the 2005 legislation. According to Gamble, Hess and Tracy Henderson will continue their terms on the Board of Regents until Ponce and Espinoza are confirmed.
Hess joined the board of regents on January 1, 1999. Hess, a 1976 graduate of ENMU, served as the president of the board in 2003.
“We’re going to miss him very much,” Gamble said. “He always put the consideration of the school first. He was a very knowledgeable and hard-working man.”
Gamble said Hess did not re-apply for the position. Hess did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Ponce was one of four regents appointed by Richardson on Wednesday. Other appointments were Javier M. Gonzales for New Mexico Highlands University, Noreen Krewer-Scott for Western New Mexico University and Phill C. Ingram for New Mexico Military Institute.