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New Mexico State University

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NMSU Hospitality Program Welcomes State's First Tourism Secretary

LAS CRUCES - J. Michael Cerletti, New Mexico's first tourism secretary, is the new interim head of New Mexico State University's Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management department.

Cerletti, who has developed and managed both hotels and restaurants, had served on the department's industry advisory board for six years and provided internships for NMSU students.

"I have watched the program grow and blossom," he said. "It's in excellent shape with almost 300 students in the program this semester. I hope to build on the foundation here and help expand the enrollment and facilities."

Cerletti was president and general manager of Rancho Encantado, a full-service ranch resort in Santa Fe, before selling his interest in the property last year. From 1991 to 1995, he served as New Mexico's first tourism secretary under Gov. Bruce King, who split a combined economic development and tourism department into separate cabinet agencies.

At the time of his appointment, Cerletti was president and co-founder of Southwest Hospitality Management Group in Santa Fe, which developed and operated hotel properties in northern New Mexico, including the Hotel Plaza Real in Santa Fe. Before that, he was the (MORE) Page 2 - NMSU Hospitality Program Welcomes State's First Tourism Secretary managing general partner of Santa Fe's Hotel St. Francis, president and managing partner of La Posada de Santa Fe, and director of operations for La Posada de Albuquerque