My turn: Former ENMU housing director leaves legacy of colorful memories

When I walk across the Eastern New Mexico University plaza, I often think of Dallan Sanders, whom it’s named after. The former housing director was Mr. ENMU, cruising around in his green convertible, and when he became the Chamber of Commerce director, me and my newsroom buddies called him Mr. Portales as he came into the newspaper, wearing his beret, handing out little bags of peanuts to myself, Carlon, Janet and Rick.

Many people have wonderful memories of this colorful character who died in 1999.

The memory of Dallan that sticks in my mind was when I was a young college student working on my journalism degree and was writing about the Campus Union Building’s 50th anniversary. I showed up to my interview with Dallan late. Dallan scolded me, lecturing me about professionalism and punctuality. I was so shy back then – I got over my shyness quickly when I got into the real world of journalism – but shy nonetheless.

After the story was published, Dallan complimented me. That made me feel good. It wasn’t until about five years later, however, when Carlon threw a Halloween party and Dallan showed up, that we laughed over the event and I told Dallan that I had actually had a flat tire on the way to interview him that day.