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Advancing the cause


Jimeno says hard work paid off in Alamogordo

Cheri Jimeno speaks at a recent commencement ceremony in Alamogordo. Jimeno retired in July after eight years as president of NMSU Alamogordo.

CHERI JIMENO • Hired as president of NMSU Alamogordo in May 2007 • Previously served as vice president for academic affairs at Montana State University-Northern • Garnered community support for a $5 million GO bond to benefit NMSU Alamogordo • Retired from NMSU in July 2015

6 Panorama | New Mexico State University | Spring 2016

A decade ago, Cheri Jimeno wasn’t familiar with New Mexico State University’s Alamogordo campus. She was the vice president for academic affairs at Montana State University-Northern and had spent most of her career in Big Sky Country. Then, a friend told her about a college in the desert 1,400 miles away that was looking for a new leader. “When I first got to Alamogordo, I only knew one couple,” Jimeno says. “So I had to get to work and get to know the community.” Jimeno was hired as NMSU Alamogordo’s president in May 2007. At the time, she says there wasn’t a lot of community support for general obligation bonds, which are used to fund capital improvements for higher education, among other public projects. She says her first priority was increasing the campus’s “town and gown relationships,” which is academic speak for strengthening community relations. Before long, the hard work paid off. The campus secured a $5 million GO Bond from the local community, which led to the first phase of construction of the Advanced Technology Center. Additional grants began to follow and soon the campus was able to renovate its labs and science facilities and keep other key infrastructure projects up-to-date. “We also increased our Hispanic enrollment during my time there,” she says. “As a Hispanic Serving Institution, that’s important. We went from 26 percent to 35 percent Hispanic enrollment.” Jimeno officially retired in July of last year, after more than 30 years in higher education. She now lives in Nine Mile Falls, just north of Spokane, Washington. “Oh, I miss the weather in Alamogordo,” she says. “I miss the campus, too. I believe we were able to do a lot of things to make sure our students were educated and able to find jobs. I have full confidence that the new campus president, Dr. Ken Van Winkle, will continue to move the campus forward.” Justin Bannister ’03 ’13

Panorama - Spring 2016  

Panorama is NMSU's Alumni and Friends magazine. To read the current issue, visit To view the Fall 2016 issue as a...

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