Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Tracy Henderson
PORTALES – For the last seven years, vice president for Business Affairs Danny Earp has filled the halls of the Eastern New Mexico University Administration Building with a pleasant smile and friendly manner. If you have not had the chance to catch up with Danny, your chances are running out. He will retire on July 31.
Danny came to Eastern in July 1996. Before that, he worked closely with Eastern during his job as deputy directory for the Commission on Higher Education for the State of New Mexico. As he began to know the people of the University, former President Frost and many others at ENMU caught his eye. "I always thought ENMU had a pretty campus and good people," said Danny.
It was not until Ruth Moore, former vice president of Business Affairs, retired that Danny had the opportunity to add to the personality of Eastern. Over the last seven years, he has achieved many accomplishments and supervised much-needed projects, which include the Campus Master Plan, renovation of Roosevelt Hall, the Education Building, Lea Hall, Eddy Hall, Curry Hall, Campus Union Building parking lot, dining hall and patio (Dallan Sanders Memorial Plaza), the University Computer Center parking lot, Zia Softball Field, and the track for the newly reestablished track program.
Danny supervised the implementation of the Banner System – the administrative computer system, purchasing cards which have simplified employees' ability to make purchases, and the campus card program which enables employees and students to put money on a card for on-campus purchases.
Though he is very proud of Eastern's building improvement projects, Danny thinks his department's greatest accomplishment was creating a positive atmosphere between Business Affairs and the rest of campus. ""I think we have been able to develop a pretty positive relationship with all departments. Even though we sometimes had to deal with tough fiscal matters, I hope that we always tried to be fair."
Rita Hill, executive secretary for the Business Affairs, will most miss Danny's pleasantness. "Danny is always so pleasant, easy to work for. He never showed anger or stress. These traits made it an enjoyable working experience," Rita said.
"Danny is very supportive, has a good sense of humor, extremely level headed, and is a great problem solver," said Kathy Knoll, comptroller for Business Affairs. "He always made time for his employees on top of it all.
Through all of his accomplishments and job duties, Danny has always successfully managed the University finances and maintained a pleasant and positive manner, according to Kathy. "He has become one of the most highly regarded people not only on campus but also throughout the state."
Danny is seen as the ideal colleague by all, including Dr. Steven Gamble, president of ENMU. "Danny has tons of experience, is always willing to go the extra mile, and has exceptional people skills," Dr. Gamble said.
One word used to describe Danny, the president said, is "reliable." The vice president for Business Affairs is a difficult position to replace in any case, but this one has additional burdens. "Danny is leaving big shoes to fill. He knows all the technical aspects, and he is an honest straightforward person with remarkable management skills. Danny is the best financial person I have ever worked with," Dr. Gamble said.
Danny has put 28 years into higher education. He served as the higher education representative on the New Mexico Finance Authority and the New Mexico Land Trust Advisory Boards and represented ENMU at the Commission on Higher Education and the New Mexico Legislature. For the past three years, he has been thinking of retiring but just was not quite ready.
"At the time of my eligibility to retire, we were getting a new president and I wanted to stay a little longer to help out. Now I feel better about the timing, but it still was a hard decision," Danny said.
Future plans include more traveling, and spending more time with his children and grandchildren. These are activities that time has not allowed him to do as much of as he would have liked over the years.
The news of Danny's retirement was hard on anyone that knew him. "When we heard the news, we all waited till we got home to cry," Kathy Knoll said.
"My heart just sank. I am going to miss him personally as a friend, and on an everyday basis. We tried everything to keep him," Dr. Gamble said.
For now, Danny plans on staying in Portales. "My wife and I have met the best people here, and we have really good friends so we don't plan to leave anytime soon," Danny explained.
"People like Danny Earp do not come along often, but Eastern New Mexico University was lucky enough to have him for the past seven years," said Dr. Gamble. "Though we wish we could keep him longer, the University wishes Danny all the luck in his new adventure of retirement."
Danny Earp Practicing His Goodbyes. (photo by Tracy Henderson)Already starting to look more relaxed. (photo by Tracy Henderson)