Garrey Carruthers, Chancellor NMSU, former NM Governor

Air Dates: April 14-16, 2018

This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Garrey Carruthers, Chancellor of New Mexico State University (NMSU) and former New Mexico governor, discussing higher education in New Mexico today and other current issues.

The role of boards of regents at our major universities is a hot topic. Recent actions of the NMSU Board of Regents towards Chancellor Carruthers have caused a statewide outcry, newspaper editorials, letters to editors, and letters calling into question the NMSU Regents’ own credibility from both the Republican and the Democratic leadership of the Senate, letters signed by over half of all New Mexico legislators.

Carruthers addresses the topic - “(Regents) are supposed to be overseeing the operation of the university, setting the policy, setting the budget for the university. And so over time we kind of go through cycles where people decide they know a lot more about running the university than the people who run the university do. And so we are kind of going through that cycle right now.”

He compares the current selection of regents to his own process of choosing regents, “I was looking for the professional status of people with the academic background to help, like petroleum engineers, or a defense guy, or a top scientist. My condition is what would help the university most...That’s what you want to do for a university - take the best we have in the disciplines that are represented in the area and encourage them to be a regent.”

Carruthers explores such issues such as whether “profitability” is an appropriate criterion for judging a university education, and how much certain divisions of a school should be subsidized, like athletics or a university press.

Garrey Carruthers has had a long career in public service and academics. He served as special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1974 to 1975, director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute at NMSU, state chair of the Republican Party of New Mexico from 1977 to 1979, and Assistant Secretary of Interior for land and resources from 1981 to 1984.

A Republican, he was elected the 27th Governor of New Mexico in 1986. After leaving office, he was president and CEO of the Cimmaron Health Plan from 1993 to 2003. In 2003, he was named dean of NMSU's College of Business. He helped establish NMSU's economic development operation, the Arrowhead Center, and served as the university's vice president for economic development. He also helped found NMSU's Domenici Institute and serves as its director. In 2013 he was elected President / Chancellor of NMSU.