WRITER: Justin Bannister
New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers plans to retire from his position July 1, 2018, at the end of his contract period.
“I have tremendously enjoyed my time here at NMSU, as a student, professor, dean and for the past four years serving as chancellor and president of this great university,” Carruthers said. “I’m enthusiastically looking forward to what we can accomplish in the next 11 months.”
Carruthers was named as NMSU’s president and chancellor in 2013. Since that time, he has focused on a number of important projects, including student recruitment, fundraising, marketing, strengthening connections with the community colleges in the NMSU system, improving efforts to foster student success and making the university more entrepreneurial.
“I am particularly pleased with our student recruitment efforts, which will result in a substantial increase in this year’s incoming freshman class,” Carruthers said. “We’ve also been mindful of our students’ success once they arrive on campus. That’s why we’ve implemented a central advising center, early warning indicators, a first-year residency requirement and other efforts to make sure the student experience at NMSU is the very best.”
“I want to congratulate Chancellor Carruthers on his retirement and thank him for his partnership in higher education initiatives,” said New Mexico Higher Education Secretary Barbara Damron.
“Working with Chancellor Carruthers every day is a great privilege. He is smart, well-informed, wise and a dear friend,” said NMSU executive vice president and provost Dan Howard. “He is the face of New Mexico State University and the most effective proponent of higher education in the state, both with the Legislature and the public. He has had a transformative influence on NMSU. I look forward to continuing our work together over the course of the next year, especially in the areas of student recruitment, student success and the improvement of the research enterprise.”
Fundraising has been a key focus area during the time Carruthers has spent as chancellor, particularly to support student scholarships as well as the university’s teaching, research and outreach functions. NMSU publicly launched its Ignite Aggie Discovery campaign earlier this year – the most ambitious campaign in NMSU system history with a goal of raising more than $125 million in cash and pledges. To date, the campaign is more than 62 percent complete, having raised nearly $77 million. Those funds benefit students across the entire NMSU system, including each of the university’s community colleges.
“We are so fortunate to have someone as outstanding as Garrey Carruthers to lead this university,” said Andrea Tawney, NMSU’s vice president for advancement, marketing and communications. “He essentially serves as our chief fundraising officer and helped us make this past year the most successful fundraising year we’ve had since the beginning of our campaign four years ago. In fact, we were able to raise more in cash and pledges in the past year than at any time in the past decade. It’s been rewarding to work alongside the Chancellor and it’s always a blast to see how he connects with our Aggie alumni anywhere we go across the U.S. I also appreciate that he invests in people and has taken time to mentor and build leadership ability in everyone by setting the example of a true transformational leader.”
“Over the many years I have worked with the Chancellor, in public life as well as in private business, I have known him to have extraordinary leadership abilities to gather teams who work effectively together to accomplish major positive change,” said Sharon Jones, who worked with Carruthers during his time as governor, in business and later at NMSU. “As in his past leadership roles, he has done just that at NMSU by leading this institution through very challenging times to transform itself for more efficient operations while still serving our students, faculty and staff.”
One of the largest projects Carruthers has overseen is the Transforming NMSU into a 21st Century University initiative – a massive effort to seek efficiencies by examining and overhauling the way the university does business, from its organizational structure to the way it handles purchasing, finance services, information technology and other areas. Projected savings from the project total more than $10 million. Carruthers said the savings from this effort are especially important in the face of declining appropriations from the state.
“I’m disappointed. I really wish he could stay a while longer,” State Sen. Mary Kay Papen said. “Chancellor Carruthers has done a great job. He’s led the university through some trying times and he’s done so successfully. He also works magnificently with our legislative delegation and our community.”
“Garrey Carruthers has made a lot of tough decisions during his time as chancellor,” State Sen. John Arthur Smith said. “He’s been proactive, not reactive, by getting in front of budget issues when no one else was. He’s pointed NMSU in a positive direction.”
“Garrey Carruthers has been a lodestar in transforming not only individual lives, but the entire culture of this university,” said NMSU General Counsel Liz Ellis. “Integrity, respect, transparency and an absolute unshakeable dedication to the success of NMSU have been his hallmarks. Through his power as a consensus builder, NMSU avoided turmoil and strife, while successfully weathering budget cuts and many other necessary changes. Personally, I will greatly miss him as a mentor and a model for good leadership. Long into the future, his kindly and frequent admonishment to ‘live life with courage’ will ring in my ears.”
Carruthers holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from NMSU and is the university’s 27th president. Coincidently, Carruthers also served as New Mexico’s 27th governor. He is the only NMSU graduate to serve either as the university’s chancellor or New Mexico’s governor. He received a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University.
After his career in politics, Carruthers served as president and CEO of a successful managed health care company. He became dean of the NMSU College of Business in 2003, also serving as the university’s vice president for economic development and director of the Pete V. Domenici Institute. As vice president for economic development, he was instrumental in establishing NMSU’s Arrowhead Center.
“Chancellor Carruthers is the ultimate Aggie and has been a truly outstanding and inspirational leader for NMSU. Because of his many accomplishments, we are by far a stronger and more sustainable institution allowing us to continue to provide the highest quality education to our students and excellent service to the citizens of New Mexico,” said Angela Throneberry, NMSU’s former senior vice president for administration and finance who retired earlier this month.
“I would like to thank the Chancellor for his many years of leadership at New Mexico State University, both as chancellor and as dean,” said NMSU Board of Regents Chair Debra Hicks. “He has worked steadfast to transform NMSU for the future and enhance our student centric institution. The Chancellor has said he has some projects on his list he wishes to complete before his retirement. I look forward to our conquest to play the golf courses around New Mexico during his retirement.”
“We have sailed this ship together through some stormy seas,” Carruthers said. “When we hit some calm, it was amazing to discover just how well we had charted the course and how successful we’ve been in transforming NMSU into a 21st century university.”