Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Portales — Dr. Jim Miller, dean of the Eastern New Mexico University--Ruidoso Instruction Center, has announced his retirement effective Jan. 8, 2005. He has been the director of the Center since its 1991 founding.
Whenit opened, ENMU-Ruidoso shared space with Region IX EducationCooperative at 300 Sudderth Drive. It then moved to 1400 Sudderth andremained there until December of 1995 when it moved to its currentlocation in the old True Value building in Sierra Mall at 709 MechemDrive. Under Dr. Miller's leadership, the Center has grown from 300students in its first year to over 1,500 today.
In 1997 an adult literacy program was begun, followed the next year by a GED program. "One of the things I am most proud of is the establishment of our Adult Basic Education Program," said Dr. Miller. "We give adults the literacy skills they need to pursue a GED (high school diploma equivalency). When we later started the GED program we had four students from Lincoln County and the Mescalero Reservation enrolled, and today we have more than 250 GED students. This program allows area residents to go on to college or get better jobs to better take care of their families. It also helps their self-esteem."
Dr.Miller, who received a 1979 Ph.D. in educational administration fromthe University of New Mexico, noted that 55 percent of those receivingGEDs from the Center went on to college.
Dr. Steven Gamble, presidentof ENMU, said that Dr. Miller has done an excellent job as dean of theRuidoso Instruction Center. "Dr. Miller's vision and leadership havebeen two of the major factors in the progress that has been made. TheCenter is now ready to advance to branch campus status and become afull-service two-year college. I give Jim, along with the citizens ofRuidoso and Lincoln County, full credit."
Dr. Miller, who received a1971 bachelor's degree in elementary education from the University ofNew Mexico, noted that the Ruidoso region had been trying to get acollege since the 1960s, and that the Center had made it a reality. Herecalled that the first year he had a three-person office that dideverything, including running a concession stand.
In 1993 the Center's first twograduates went through commencement at ENMU-Portales. Both had beenworking at Wal-Mart and are now teachers: Ruth Guthrie in Roswell andMichelle Ashcraft in Mescalero.
"I am especially proud of thehigh number of Mescalero Reservation residents who have receiveddegrees from us," said Dr. Miller, a former superintendent ofFarmington Municipal Schools from 1985-91.
Dr. Miller, who received a1973 master's degree in public administration from Ball StateUniversity, credited ENMU's Portales and Roswell campuses withcontributing to the success of ENMU-Ruidoso. "Many talented faculty andhard-working staff from the Portales and Roswell campuses devoted manyhours to helping Ruidoso. Our success is a testament to their spirit ofvolunteering."
Dr. Miller said that hisdecision to retire was prompted by health concerns. His future plansinclude pursuing a part-time position in the private sector andvolunteering in the Ruidoso area.
"Dr. Miller will be greatlymissed," said Dr. Gamble. "He was the founding CEO of the RuidosoInstruction Center and has led it through substantial enrollment growthand the addition of many new programs."
Dr. Gamble said that a national search would be conducted to fill Dr. Miller's position.