Second woman presidential candidate graces NMSU, shares knowledge and experience with community

November 9, 2009 by Kristina Medley NMSU Round Up

Lisa Rossbacher

Lisa Rossbacher

The second woman presidential candidate for New Mexico State University visited campus Friday and shared her experience in outer space research, diversity and her thoughts on how to recruit talented students, faculty and staff.

Lisa Rossbacher, who has served as president of Southern Polytechnic State University in Georgia for the past 12 years, said she was very impressed with NMSU and enjoyed her time visiting Las Cruces and the campus.

“We have a long-standing appreciation for New Mexico,” Rossbacher said, adding that her husband orders a box of Big Jim green chile from New Mexico every year and that she and her husband have spent a few holidays in New Mexico.

Rossbacher has worked with the Alliance for Minority Participation, encouraging underrepresented students to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Rossbacher said Southern Polytech ranks number one in the percentage of African American students who earn degrees in the STEM fields, and diversity is important to her.

“We’re tremendously impressed with everything going on at New Mexico State University, [including] diversity and the way it’s embraced and [taken to] the heart of the university,” Rossbacher said.

Rossbacher said communication is a key part of attracting the best staff, faculty and students to NMSU, and she said she has been building up a list of qualified individuals who would add to the diversity and quality of the institution.

“Presidents always have to be recruiting. I take that to heart,” Rossbacher said. “I’m always recruiting and building a strong pool of applicants.”

Rossbacher said she is attracted to NMSU, for many reasons, including the land grant and space grant missions as well as the climate of Las Cruces.

“I see [the space grant mission] as a great parallel to the land grant mission,” Rossbacher said.

Rossbacher completed a space program at Johnson Space Center, and out of the 5,000 applicants, was one of 120 to be invited to the center for training and an interview.

“That experience gave me a lot of material to [share] with students,” Rossbacher said.

Kristina Medley is the news editor and can be reached at

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