October 30, 2013 by Amanda Bradford, NMSU News Center
A $55,000 gift from El Paso Electric will make the distance education classroom in New Mexico State University’s new Pete V. Domenici Hall a state-of-the-art teaching environment.
The gift will provide equipment for advanced, high-definition video conferencing, allowing students enrolled in online courses to have the same real-time learning experience as their classmates attending in person.
When it opens next fall, Pete V. Domenici Hall will be the NMSU College of Business’ third building on campus, and will be home to NMSU’s Domenici Institute for Public Policy and portions of the Arrowhead Center, which specializes in economic development and entrepreneurship.
Mary Kipp, El Paso Electric’s senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer, said the utility company is happy to support distance learning at NMSU – particularly since a number of El Paso Electric employees have taken part in online NMSU classes.
“We are proud of NMSU’s success in providing a high quality education to its students at a reasonable cost,” Kipp said. “We appreciate the efforts undertaken by NMSU to extend the opportunity to students who are not able to travel to Las Cruces to attend classes in person. In fact, some of our own employees are beneficiaries of the remote learning system!”
Kipp said businesses like El Paso Electric know the value of having well-educated graduates to choose from when they look to hire new employees.
“As a member of the regional business community that has benefitted greatly from having NMSU graduates on our team, we wanted to do something to show our appreciation,” Kipp said. “We look forward to seeing more great things from NMSU under the leadership of President Garrey Carruthers.”
Kathy Brook, interim dean for NMSU’s College of Business, said the classroom’s advanced technology will allow instructors to reach more students.
“The College of Business is grateful for the generosity of El Paso Electric in providing the technology that will allow the college to deliver academic programs more effectively to a broad audience,” she said.
In April, NMSU officially broke ground on the construction project to repurpose and expand the university’s Hershel Zohn Theatre to become Pete V. Domenici Hall. The building will have one of the few large auditoriums on campus, which increases classroom space capacity and directly benefits students. In addition to classes, the space will be used for forums, seminars and other large meetings often open to the campus and community. Graduate student and faculty space also is an integral part of the building.
NMSU’s Domenici Institute for Public Policy is named for retired U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and was founded in 2008. It hosts a yearly public policy conference, various public policy forums and sponsors public policy research projects. Its mission is to deliver timely scientific analyses and educational opportunities to frame the debate and development of public policy.
Funding for Pete V. Domenici Hall comes from a combination of federal, state and private funds. A gift of $1 million from Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino owner and NMSU supporter Stan Fulton earlier this year will help fund completion of the building’s construction. The building’s auditorium will be funded through a significant contribution from the PY Foundation, led by Peyton Yates of Artesia, N.M., in honor of his parents.