Public invited to celebrate inauguration of NMSU President Couture

August 5, 2010 by Audry Olmsted, NMSU News Center

The public is invited to attend the inauguration of Barbara Couture as the 25th president of NMSU Aug. 17. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

New Mexico State University is carrying on a celebration of change and partnership with the inauguration Aug. 17 of Barbara Couture as the 25th president of the institution.

The inauguration is being held in conjunction with convocation and is free and open to the public.

“The inauguration of a new president is to both the university and the community at large a kick off to introduce a new administration and give the president an opportunity to express their goals and impressions, and in this case, emphasize a new era of excellence,” said Laura Conniff, Board of Regents member. “It is also an opportunity to recognize faculty and showcase what NMSU has to offer.”

“This inauguration is a way to feature the theme of the ceremony – ‘A New Era of Excellence through Partnerships,’” Couture said. “I want the university community to feel that the university is moving forward, that we are a community, that we have a direction and that we can get there together.”

And partnership is exactly what Couture wants to focus on in the coming years at NMSU – a partnership with Las Cruces and Doña Ana County communities, with state legislators, businesses and supporters in the academic community.

“We live in a day and age where people need partnerships to be successful,” she said. “Our success, our way of moving forward – even when resources are tight – is going to be determined by our success in being good partners with our community, with one another as colleagues of this university, with our state and with the disciplines that we represent here as we provide excellent programs for our students.”

Couture said when she first arrived at the university in January, she identified some issues that needed addressing – top among them being the budget. She said she wants to take time to find a way for everyone at the university to work more effectively and efficiently, so as to make the best use of the funding and resources available from tuition and state appropriations. She also wants to explore other resources to bring new revenue to NMSU so the university can provide the services the state expects from it.

Couture said she plans to work hard in the coming years with communities in New Mexico to help improve the opportunities for students to do well at NMSU and successfully graduate so they can become contributing members in New Mexico communities.

The president said she also wants to look at different processes at the university to see whether there is a way to make them run more smoothly, and continue to work on research structures to support research faculty in obtaining grants and contracts to help them continue their good work.

This is an exciting time, Couture said, one in which the university will do better academically and with its research mission, in an effort to help New Mexico as a state move forward economically and socially.

“NMSU is like one big family,” Couture said. “People enjoy living here. They enjoy being a part of the university and they enjoy being together with everyone. They take great pride in this place. That just makes me smile all over. I have been thrilled with that ability to feel like I am part of the family. I hope folks here will feel the same way about me for a long time.”

The inauguration is Aug. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Corbett Center Ballrooms. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP in advance if they plan to attend the ceremonies and/or the free luncheon immediately following the event.

Other public events are planned the week of Aug. 16 to help celebrate the new era of partnership. On Aug. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon, the community is invited to take a walk into the past at the Gallery of Presidents in the Corbett Center Art Gallery. The gallery will showcase portraits of all the presidents of the university as well as a timeline of significant events at NMSU over the years, and around the world. Former NMSU presidents William Conroy and Gerald Thomas will be available to talk with guests. Refreshments will be served at the event.

The public is invited to attend “New Era of Excellence through International Programs and Partnerships” Aug. 18 from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Corbett Center Student Gallery for a forum about the international programs at NMSU.

On Aug. 18, the public is invited to attend “Choirs and Cupcakes,” a free musical event from noon to 1 p.m. at the patio outside of Taos Cafeteria at Corbett Center. Although sweet snacks will be provided, attendees are asked to bring their own bag lunch.

Many events during the week of inauguration are being held in conjunction with academic and student events already planned in an effort to use the occasion to highlight the university’s commitment to faculty, staff and student excellence. Events are being paid for through sponsorships and private funds.

Before being appointed as president of NMSU, Couture was the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She also served as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Washington State University in Pullman. Couture earned her bachelor’s degree with high distinction from the University of Michigan where she also earned a master’s degree and doctorate in English language and literature.

For details about the event, and to RSVP, visit For more information on the inauguration, call Jolie Tixier, director of Presidential Events, at 575-646-7737 or

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