Hector Balderas/Photo courtesy
NNMC PRESS RELEASE
The Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents voted unanimously on Thursday, November 17 to offer New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas the position as Northern’s next president.
“We are very pleased to have President Balderas with us, wish him well and welcome him to our family,” said NNMC Chairman Michael Martin.
Balderas was one of four finalists for the positions. The other finalists were Patricia Trujillo, Assistant Secretary of the New Mexico Higher Education Department, Bruno G. Hicks, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Dalton State College, and Dr. E. Yueh-Ting “YT” Lee, Professor/Director of Applied Psychology and Faculty Senate President, Southern Illinois University. Another finalist, Dr. David L. Johns, president of Ferrum College in Virginia, withdrew from the search last month.
“I’m thrilled that the community was involved in the selection process – they have hope for change, and I’m honored that the Regents, faculty and staff will work with me as we lead Northern New Mexico College into the future and build upon student success and institutional development,” Balderas said in a statement.
Balderas is currently serving his second term as Attorney General of New Mexico, following two terms as NM State Auditor. He was elected to the NM House of Representatives at the age of 29 and spent two years as the Assistant District Attorney for Bernalillo County.
In interviews, Balderas spoke passionately about how much higher education had changed his life. Raised by a single mother in the village of Wagon Mound, New Mexico, he grew up on public housing and food stamps. He said he’s one of those students who isn’t expected to succeed. He overcame these obstacles to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from New Mexico Highlands University and a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico Law School. Balderas said he sees himself in Northern’s students and pledged to fight for more resources to support their success.
Balderas cited his experience running major state agencies, working with the legislature and his ability to build coalitions and bring opposing constituencies together as resources he would bring to the position.
The Board of Regents will now enter into negotiations with Balderas to determine a compensation and benefits package and the scope of duties in his new role. Once contract negotiations are successfully concluded, the Board will hold a special meeting to approve the contract and formally confirm Balderas as Northern’s next President.
Northern New Mexico College has served the rural communities of northern New Mexico for over a century. Since opening in 1909 as the Spanish American Normal School in El Rito, NM, the college has provided affordable access to quality academic programs that meet the changing educational, economic, and cultural needs of the area.
Northern is an admission-free institution offering the most affordable undergraduate programs in the Southwest. Northern is now one of the state’s four regional comprehensive institutions with its main campus in Española and offers more than 50 undergraduate, associate, and certificate programs in the arts and humanities, film and digital media, STEM programs, business, education, humanities, and Care. The college has reintroduced technical careers in partnership with two local unions and five public school districts through its new Branch Community College, the first of its kind in state history. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Northern has received prestigious program-specific accreditations for its engineering, nursing, education and business programs. Learn more at https://nnmc.edu/.