Regent former legislator

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

Gov. Bill Richardson appointed Pauline Ponce of Roswell to the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents, according to a Wednesday press release from the governor’s office.

She replaces outgoing regent Blaine Hess of Roswell on the five-member board.

Ponce attended ENMU-Roswell and ENMU in Portales and received her education specialist degree in 1980.

“I’ve been fortunate to receive a college education from Eastern,” said Ponce, who will serve a four-year term. “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.”

Ponce served as a state representative from 2000 to 2004 and worked for 29 years in the Roswell Independent School District, including a stint as superintendent.

“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 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 the press release. “I will work with these new regents to hold universities more accountable, increase graduation rates and prepare students for high-wage jobs.”

Hess joined the board of regents in 1999. A 1976 graduate of ENMU, Hess 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 could not be reached for 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.