New Mexico State University Chancellor Garrey Carruthers plans to retire on July 1, 2018, when his current contract ends, the university announced Thursday.
“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 NMSU’s president and chancellor in 2013. Since that time, he has focused on 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.
And he has overseen 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 and were made necessary in part because of declining appropriations from the state.
“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.”
Two prominent legislators praised Carruthers in a news release.
“I’m disappointed. I really wish he could stay a while longer,” said state Sen. Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces. “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.”
State Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, agreed.
“Garrey Carruthers has made a lot of tough decisions during his time as chancellor,” 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.”
Carruthers said he was “particularly pleased with our student recruitment efforts, which will result in a substantial increase in this year’s incoming freshman class.”
“We’ve also been mindful of our students’ success once they arrive on campus,” he said. “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.”
Other officials also praised Carruthers.
“I want to congratulate Chancellor Carruthers on his retirement and thank him for his partnership in higher education initiatives,” said state 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.”
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.”
Carruthers holds bachelor’s and a master’s degrees 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 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,” said Angela Throneberry, NMSU’s former senior vice president for administration and finance, who retired earlier this month. “Because of his many accomplishments, we are by far a stronger and more sustainable institution.”
NMSU Board of Regents Chair Debra Hicks said Carruthers “has worked steadfast to transform NMSU for the future and enhance our student-centric institution.”