UPDATE: Pacheco named interim president of NMSU

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 3:50 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — New Mexico State University's regents have named a new interim president, Manuel T. Pacheco, who has been president of four universities outside New Mexico and interim president of one in the state.

The regents approved a contract for $325,000 that also includes the use of the president's residence.

Pacheco, a former president of the University of Missouri System, the University of Arizona, the University of Houston-Downtown and Laredo State University, will take over the Las Cruces school on June 1.

He was interim president of New Mexico Highlands University for six months after former state Sen. Manny Aragon stepped down after two tumultuous years. Pacheco served from July 2006 to January 2007, until Highlands named a permanent president.

NMSU's current interim president, Waded Cruzado, announced earlier this month she is returning to her post as executive vice president and provost at the school. She became interim president last June after Michael Martin resigned as president to take a job as chancellor of Louisiana State University.

The chairman of NMSU's regents, Blake Curtis, said after Cruzado's resignation that NMSU plans to move forward with a search for a permanent president. The school called off its previous presidential search in November when the finalists withdrew from consideration.

With Pacheco's background and reputation, "the university will be in good hands while we search for our new president," Curtis said Tuesday.

Pacheco said in a news release from NMSU that he is pleased to be able to join the school and help its transition.

"Land grant universities are a special kind of institution in the United States," he said. "They provide both opportunities and responsibilities that you do not get at other institutions."

Pacheco, who lives in Arizona, headed UM in 1997-2002, the University of Arizona in 1991-1997, the University of Houston-Downtown in 1988-1991 and Laredo State University in 1984-1988.

He also has held administrative or faculty positions with the University of Texas-El Paso, Texas A&I University, Laredo State, San Diego State University, the University of Colorado and Florida State University. He has taught French and Spanish in New Mexico high schools.

Pacheco, who grew up in New Mexico, holds a doctorate in foreign language education from The Ohio State University and a master's in Spanish. His bachelor's degree, from New Mexico Highlands, is in Spanish, French and German. He won a Fulbright Fellowship to the Faculte de Lettres, Universite de Montpellier, France.



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