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NMSU Regents name Cruzado as interim president

New Mexico State University's Board of Regents selected Waded Cruzado as interim president of the university during their meeting Tuesday. Cruzado, currently the executive vice president and provost at NMSU, will assume her new duties on Aug. 1. When Cruzado takes office, she will be the first woman, and only the second Hispanic, ever to lead the university in its 120-year history.

"I am truly honored by the opportunity to serve as interim president and I intend to pay back the trust that you have deposited in me," Cruzado told the Regents. "I am proud of this institution and its power to positively transform the lives of the people we serve. I will do my absolute best to continue the good projects already in place and to provide leadership on behalf of New Mexico State University to the very best of my ability. There is no challenge that together we can not resolve, no goal that as a community we can not accomplish. I look forward to exciting times ahead."

Cruzado congratulated current President Michael Martin on the progress at NMSU under his direction and said her priorities include putting together a management and faculty team to start implementing the recommendations made by the Regents Professors' task force, relating to developments last spring in the College of Health and Social Services.

"While continuing to build on our academic accomplishments, we will work hard to further improve our administrative processes and procedures, as well as our effectiveness in communications and outreach efforts both inside and outside the university," Cruzado said.

Cruzado said that in the event she was appointed interim president, she had invited College of Education Dean Robert Moulton to consider serving as interim executive vice president and provost. Moulton had held that position in an interim status until last August, when Cruzado was selected for her current role.

Regents also finalized contractual issues with President Martin, who has accepted a position as chancellor of the Baton Rouge campus of Louisiana State University. He will remain at NMSU until July 31.

In accordance with the terms of the contract, the Regents decided to accept Martin's June 1 resignation without penalty. The regents have started the process of searching for a new president.

Because he is leaving NMSU before the end of his contract term, Martin is not eligible to receive any portion of his deferred compensation. He also will not receive an annual performance bonus.

In his parting comments during the meeting, Martin told Regents he appreciated their support during his presidency and thanked the NMSU community.

He pointed out that the university had been successful in pursuing three primary goals he set for his presidency: seeking national and international recognition; remaining an accessible institution without sacrificing quality; and engaging the university in the lives of citizens on campus and across the state.

"What's comforting to know is that the people who have really made that progress are still here and continue to make progress," Martin said. "Furthermore, they will have an outstanding leader, certainly during the interim, in Waded Cruzado."

In other business Tuesday, the Regents approved a list of new and expanded research, public service, statewide instruction and general, and other line item project requests for fiscal year 2009-2010. The list, which includes projects totaling $7.2 million for all campuses, will now go on to the state Higher Education Department for approval before being considered by legislators.