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NMSU Criminal Justice professor retiring after nearly 30 years

After more than 29 years teaching criminal justice at New Mexico State University, G. Larry Mays will be retiring in December.

New Mexico State University Criminal Justice Professor G. Larry Mays will retire this month after nearly 30 years of teaching at NMSU. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Mays is a national expert on jails and prisons. His work in juvenile justice is widely acclaimed by juvenile justice academics and professionals in the field. He has authored several books on courts and the justice system, the U.S. prison system and jails and detention centers.

During his nine-year tenure as department head between 1981 and 1990, Mays started a master's program in criminal justice, the first in the state.

"The closest program was in Tempe, Arizona at Arizona State University," Mays said. "With the number of students going into the field, a program in this state was needed."

Before coming to NMSU, Mays taught at East Tennessee State University, Appalachian State University and was a Knoxville, Tennessee police officer for five years. He completed his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Tenn. in 1979.

While teaching a variety of criminal justice classes at NMSU, Mays earned a number of awards. He received the Donald C. Roush award in 1993, was selected as Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1997, was named an NMSU Regents Professor in 2005 and was selected numerous times for Who's Who among American Teachers.

Over the years, Mays' involvement in the development of grant proposals resulted in more than $200,000 in funded research at NMSU.

In 2008, Mays moved to NMSU's Albuquerque Center, where he has been teaching for the last two years.

"I have always enjoyed interacting with students and still stay in contact with many alumni," Mays said. "I figured out that since I have been at NMSU, over 90 percent of those who have graduated from the program have been while I've been here."

Although retiring, Mays said he will be busier than ever. He plans to continue teaching classes this spring and has three book manuscripts due in 2011. He has two additional book proposals that have been approved and he is working on revisions for another.