December 9, 2009 by Celina Talamantes, College of Business
On December 3, 2009, the College of Business held a retirement ceremony for Celina. Her last work day is December 23rd.
In Her Own Words
I was born many moons ago–that would be 22,630 moons ago. I included that part because I know the accounting and finance faculty are calculating my age in their heads as we speak! I no longer have my parents but I was brought up by a mother with a very strong will. My father died when I was 9 years old and my mother had the job of raising myself, my sister Teresa and brother Felipe on her own. She instilled in us that an education was very important especially for women.
I attended Doña Ana Elementary School when J. Paul Taylor was principal. He has always been a very special person in my life. He had the hard task of telling me and my siblings that dad had died and said that was the hardest thing he had ever had to do as a principal. I continued on to Alameda Junior High and graduated from Las Cruces High School in 1966.
In June 1966 I begin my career at NMSU in the Registrar’s Office and worked with Jennie Villa as my supervisor. I am thankful to her because she taught me well. At that time we certified graduating seniors prior to commencement since it wasn’t a symbolic commencement like it is now. We used big adding machines that were just plain noisy. But I have to say it was busy, exciting and fun.
During my tenure at NMSU I have seen many changes. When I worked at the Registrar’s Office, registration was held at Pan Am Center. Today I am still a part of the self-help Banner registration system. I did a full circle in that sense—I begin and end assisting students with registration.
I worked in the Registrar’s Office when we used computer punch cards to generate the students’ class schedule. The punch cards were also used for grades and a sticky label with grades was run and placed on student’s record. In other words that was the student’s official transcript. I participated in entering student data into SOLAR (Student Online Academic Record) as part of the conversion. It demanded many hours and weekends from staff members.
During my tenure at NMSU my personal life changed in many ways. I started as a single person in 1966 and married in 1968. I had a break from NMSU from 1969 to 1972 when I moved to southern California and worked in the regional office for the Boy Scouts of America. I returned to NMSU in 1972 and begin right where I left off at the Registrar’s Office. I worked in the College of Education—Dean’s Office and EMD department, Doña Ana CC—Director’s office which is now the Campus President; NMSU President’s Office and the College of Business.
In 1983 my husband and I divorced causing all sorts of havoc in my life. Dr. Lloyd Cooper was instrumental in helping me get through my divorce. All of a sudden I was a single parent with three children to take care of.
Yes, I brought up my children as a single parent but so did the NMSU community—for that I am very grateful. I was blessed to have supportive bosses throughout the years. I had two bosses that had a tremendous impact in my personal life–they were Donald Ferguson and Lloyd Cooper both in the College of Education. Dr. Ferguson helped me with advice regarding my children and Dr. Cooper regarding my personal goals and achievements. I cannot even begin to thank the College of Business for the monetary and moral support during Ron’s illness the two years that I went back and forth to California. For this, the College of Business will always have my heart in its hand.
I trained several deans, department heads and one President. J. Michael Orenduff was President of NMSU from 1995 to 1997. He too had a big impact in my life. He gave me such a good raise that I can now retire comfortably! I always remember President Orenduff telling me: “I can be gone for weeks but if you are gone one day things just don’t seem to go well”–that about sums up the role of every staff member at NMSU. You are the wheels that keep NMSU going.
My greatest pride and joy are my children: Ron, Cecilia and Sonya. They are my work of art, my outward achievements and have always been my pillars of support.
I have five grandchildren—Aaron, Joshua, Carolina, Jacob and James. I have three other children that are very important in my life—my great nieces Miranda, Emily and nephew Nathaniel. Many of you in the College of Business know their father—Kevin Melendrez who married my favorite niece Regina.
Many ask what I plan to do after I retire. I think I have my work cut out for me—spoil and spend time with my grandchildren, great nieces and nephew! Other things I plan to do are continue to work on my hobbies: scrapbooking, sewing quilts and painting. My other big project is to help with the capital campaign for the expansion of St. Albert Newman.
I officially walk into the sunset on December 23 after close to 40 years of service at NMSU (or 14,600 moons ago). To each of you my humble thanks to every person that I worked with, interacted with or traveled with.Because of you my job was easier, enjoyable and a lot of fun.
Thank you to my family, friends and co-workers for attending this important occasion in my life!!!