By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Eastern New Mexico University has succeeded lately where other state higher education institutes have come up short.
Another manifestation of that success was demonstrated this week when it was announced the ENMU Foundation had reached its fundraising goal last year, the best year in its 32-year history.
Foundation President Stephen Doerr told alumni assembled at Saturday’s Foundation Breakfast the organization raised $1.4 million last year, which brings the organization’s total assets to $8.1 million, much of that total in endowment, meaning only the interest can be used.
Besides a record year for foundation giving, ENMU has maintained its enrollment numbers while other schools have experienced double-digit decreases. The university also passed its 10-year accreditation last year with flying colors. So much so, that the accrediting institution recently informed the university that they would like to display their report at their national conference, according to ENMU officials.
The ENMU Foundation’s focus has always been building scholarship support for students at the university, according to foundation officials.
“Every dollar that is donated helps somebody attend Eastern and get an education similar to the one we’ve received,” Doerr told the crowd.
Doerr challenged those present to consider increasing their gift to the foundation.
ENMU President Steven Gamble noted the role the foundation plays in the success of the university during his remarks.
“We’ve always felt that if our students could compete with the best graduates of other schools, we’ve done our job. Let me tell you, we’ve done our job,” Gamble exclaimed. “We’ve got living proof of that here today.”
Gamble also noted the impact the local business community has on the foundation as the university deals with challenging times.
“The way money is going in higher education now, we need all the help we can get,” Gamble said.
The foundation got its start in 1978 as the Friends of Eastern Foundation and was renamed in 2005. Foundation members and staff say they’re hopeful the recent successes are indicative of a long-term trend.
A multi-year campaign called Campaign Eastern that stretched from April 2003 to March 2007 was mounted in order to build alumni support of the foundation. During that time, More than 1,000 donors provided $3.2 million in support, according to foundation officials.
Among those honored at the breakfast were U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., who received an honorary lifetime alumni award. Domenici staffer Judy Gillies of his Roswell office accepted the award on his behalf and read a statement from the senator.
“Even though I have never been a student on this campus, I know countless ENMU graduates, and am always impressed with the quality of students you produce there,” Domenici said in his statement. “A number of my staff proudly call themselves Greyhounds; and now I can call myself one too.”
Domenici announced earlier this week that because of progression of a brain disease he will not seek a seventh term in office.
At a glance
ENMU Foundation Breakfast Honorees
Business of the Year — Southwest Canners
Philanthropists of the Year — Jack and LaDeane Murphy
Volunteer of the Year — Jan Smartnick
Outstanding Alumni Awards — Deborah Sawyer and Clifton Smith
Distinguished Service Award — Margie and Allen Bryant
Honorary Lifetime Alumni Award — Sen. Pete Domenici
Distinguished Emeritus Faculty — Louis Burkel, Richard Fawcett, Henry Hahn, Julia Rosa Lopez-Emslie, Robert Taylor, Nancy Warr
Greyhound Hall of Honors — Jerry Blakely, Travis Howe, Joe Martin, Kim Paschall-Neighbors, Theresa Ramos and Jamie Soistman-Giddens