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NMSU among the best in graduating minorities

A leading national publication has listed New Mexico State University as one of the best in the United States in awarding degrees to minorities.

ata from the U.S. Department of Education, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education ranked four-year institutions that award the most undergraduate and graduate degrees to students of color. The data used were from 1,700 institutions for the 2004-05 academic year and were based on students' racial or ethnic status.

For undergraduate programs, NMSU came in among the top 100 in 18 of 66 academic categories. The university was ranked in the top 10 in five categories, in the top 20 in nine others and in the top 100 in 12 of 66 graduate categories, including five top 10 rankings.

The College of Agriculture and Home Economics was the one of the most honored on campus, coming in third in undergraduate degrees to American Indian students, sixth to Hispanics and 11th in total minority baccalaureates. The college also ranked first in degrees in total minorities and Hispanics receiving graduate degrees.

"As long as I've been here, there have been important programs in place to obtain diversity and provide as many opportunities to as many people whenever possible," said Lowell Catlett, dean of the college. "It's been a long, continuous effort by dedicated people.

"Lyndon Johnson said it's not enough to provide people with open door opportunities, sometimes you have to lead them through it," Catlett said. "It's important to not stop leading people through. It's that attitude, hard work and dedication that has resulted in this ranking. It's paid off."

The College of Engineering came in first in master's degrees to American Indians, 10th in Hispanics and 48th in total minorities. The college also ranked 5th and 6th in awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanic and American Indian students.

"Providing avenues for success for all students is what we're all about at NMSU," said Dean Steven Castillo. "It's the land-grant mission. We are very passionate about helping young people succeed."

Part of that passion, Castillo said, is the faculty's dedication to "the success of the students and the realization that leadership and faculty here serve students from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds. These are things students don't get at other universities."

Garrey Carruthers, dean of the College of Business, said NMSU and Las Cruces offer other advantages, as well.

"It's smaller than Albuquerque, for example," he said. "Plus, we are a residential campus. For example, the (Professional Golf Management program) has a wing in the dorms. There's one for the College of Business. A wing for Native American students is being developed. Most students feel very comfortable here."

The College of Business also ranked high on the list, tying with the University of Florida for 16th in awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanics. However, Carruthers said there's more work to be done.

"We need to do more to recruit Native American students," he explained. "Right now, the college is at around 3 percent, but statewide (the Native American population) is 9 percent. Overall, (the student population) is very representative of the state demographics, but we're lagging with Native American students."

Across all academic disciplines, NMSU ranked 14th in Hispanics receiving bachelor's degrees and 16th in Native Americans, and 61st in total minorities across all disciplines.

All NMSU Rankings, Top 100 Undergraduate Degree Producers

All Disciplines:
Hispanics, 14th; American Indians, 16th; Total Minorities, 61st

Agriculture, Agriculture Operations and Related Sciences:
American Indians, 3rd; Hispanics 6th, Total Minorities, 11th

Hispanics, 5th; American Indians, 6th (tie, Michigan, Northern Arizona, Colorado, Arkansas)

Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services:
American Indians, 7th; Hispanics, 20th

Biological and Biomedical Sciences:
American Indians, 16th (tie, Western Washington, Northern Arizona); Hispanics, 17th

Business Management, Marketing and Related Support Services:
Hispanics, 16th (tie, Florida)

Total minorities, 12th; American Indians, 19th (tie, Central Washington, Athens State, Oglala Lakota College); Hispanics, 41st

Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences:
Hispanics, 23rd (tie, Florida Atlantic); American Indians, 25th (tie, Ohio State, Nicholls State, U of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Maine, UT Medical Branch, Northern Colorado)

All NMSU Rankings, Top 100 Graduate Degree Producers

All Disciplines:
Hispanics, 22nd; Amerian Indians, 26th; Total Minorities, 99th

Agriculture, Agriculture Operations and Related Sciences:
Total Minorities,1st (tie, North Carolina A&T State); Hispanics, 1st

American Indians, 17th (tie, Azusa Pacific, Lesley, UTEP), Hispanics, 23rd

American Indians, First; Hispanics, 10th; Total Minorities, 48th (ties, Missouri-Rolla, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Colorado, Walden)

English Language and Literature/Letters:
Total Minorities, 29th (tie with 10 other colleges and universities), Hispanics, 10th

Victor Venegas, Broadcast/Media Coordinator
Aug. 11, 2006