David Stevens: Freedom Newpapers
Clovis Community College President Beverlee McClure is expected to be named the state’s new Higher Education secretary today, college regents Robert Lydick and Gayla Brumfield and state Sen. Stuart Ingle said.
Officials with the governor’s office declined to confirm the appointment, but Bill Richardson scheduled a press conference for 9 a.m. today in Santa Fe to name the new secretary. He also scheduled a press conference for 1:15 p.m. today at CCC’s library for what a spokeswoman with his office said is a “very important announcement.”
The college’s board of regents scheduled a special meeting with an executive session for 8 a.m. Wednesday.
“I imagine we’ll have a search, but the board will decide that,” said Lydick, who offered high praise for McClure.
“She’s about the best I’ve seen. She’s A-No. 1. I believe her best (attribute) is her ability to organize … people and events. … She’s an organizer.”
McClure could not be reached for comment.
She was named last month as one of five finalists for the newly created Higher Education position. The other finalists are:
• James Fries, former president, College of Santa Fe
• Carmen Gonzales, vice provost, New Mexico State University
• Ana Guzman, president of Palo Alto College, San Antonio, Texas
• Lillian Montoya Rael, community relations director, Los Alamos National Lab.
Legislation creating a state Department of Higher Education and a new cabinet-level position was passed during this year’s legislative session and signed into law by the governor.
While the secretary will be appointed by the governor, the candidate must be confirmed by the state Senate.
Ingle, a Portales Republican, said he did not anticipate any problems in confirming McClure.
“She’s certainly had the experience in higher education and it’s one of those things you want people there with some experience,” Ingle said.
“I think she can probably handle the job.”
Ingle said McClure will have to answer questions from the Senate rules committee, then go before the full Senate for a vote in January.
State Rep. Joe Campos, D-Santa Rosa, said he was among those who asked the governor to appoint McClure to the post.
“I think she did a great job for Clovis Community College and that’s the kind of person we need as the secretary — someone who understands rural college education,” Campos said.
The Higher Education Department, directed by the cabinet secretary, is responsible for increasing access to state colleges and universities and improving success once a student has enrolled, the governor’s office has said.
Brumfield said McClure will be missed because of the “fresh approach” she brought to the college and the growth she spurred in six years on the job.
“Our enrollment grew, getting the new library and technology center, that’s part of the growth … just in different areas, she brought change and she brought growth,” Brumfield said. “Beverlee has a lot of talent and good organizational skills that I think will lend itself very well to her new position.”