Panorama: A familiar face

Volume 62 2013. Retrieved online September 11, 2013 by Justin Bannister ’03 ’13, Aggie Panorama

Carruthers is first Aggie alumnus to lead NMSU

Garrey Carruthers (Photo by Darren Phillips)

Garrey Carruthers (Photo by Darren Phillips)

Frankly, it’s been difficult to keep New Mexico State University’s new president, Garrey Carruthers, away from the university.

“I’ve sort of had a checkered career, between business, academics and public life,” he says. “But the university is where I’ve always wanted to be.”

Carruthers first stepped foot on the NMSU campus more than 50 years ago as a student interested in studying dairy production. In 1964, he received his bachelor’s degree in agriculture and went on to earn a master’s in agricultural economics from NMSU the following year.

After receiving a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University, Carruthers returned to NMSU in 1968, this time as a faculty member. Over the next few decades, he taught in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business and even served as acting director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute.

“I’m an educator,” he says. “I love to teach. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring students, encouraging them, and helping get them into internships and find jobs. I look forward to finding opportunities to continue interacting with students as president.”

He jokingly says that he twice “did time” in Washington, D.C., first as a White House fellow assigned to the Secretary of Agriculture and then as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Carruthers later ran for and won the New Mexico governor’s office, becoming the state’s 27th chief executive and the first NMSU grad to hold the post. He served from 1987 to 1991, the last constitutionally limited single-term governor. Coincidently, Carruthers is also NMSU’s 27th chief executive and the only NMSU grad to hold that post as well.

After leaving office, Carruthers joined the business world. He founded a managed care company where he served as president and CEO. Under Carruthers, the company grew from three employees to more than 400 before it was sold to a national managed care company in 2004.

In 2003, Carruthers arrived at NMSU once again, this time as dean of the College of Business. While at the university, he has focused on entrepreneurship, leadership and ethics. He helped establish NMSU’s economic development operation, the Arrowhead Center and served as the university’s vice president for economic development. Carruthers was instrumental in founding NMSU’s Pete V. Domenici Institute and continues to serve as its director. As dean, he served as the principal investigator for a $1.25 million grant project from the Daniels Foundation to promote ethics education. Over the past decade, Carruthers has raised approximately $30 million of public and private funds for various university projects. He and his wife, Kathy, have also donated more than half a million dollars of their own money back to the university to support academics and athletics.

“The university is the most fun of any of the careers I’ve had, whether in business, academics or public life,” he says. “We have a lot to be proud of here at NMSU. It will be my job now to establish the vision, set the tone and build the team necessary to advance this university even farther.”

Having been in and around the university for much of his adult life, Carruthers enters the job with an advantage no other NMSU president has had. He knows what it’s like to work with New Mexico state government leaders and the New Mexico business community. He also knows what it’s like to be an NMSU student, an NMSU faculty member, an NMSU administrator and an NMSU donor. In short, he also knows what it’s like to be an Aggie.

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