Statewide Listening Tour - Valencia

Last Thursday I wrapped up the Branch Campus portion of my statewide listening tour with a visit to UNM Valencia. A mere 30 miles from Albuquerque, my trip to Los Lunas, New Mexico started with a morning ride down along the Bosque on the Rail Runner, followed by a warm welcome from Chief Executive Officer Dr. Alice Letteney, Dean of Instruction Laura Musselwhite, and the Valencia Branch Campus Development Board.

Making our way through numerous courtyards – replete with charming fountains – a tour of the campus introduced me to Valencia’s impressive Wellness Center, a brand new greenhouse for agricultural studies, a state of the art nursing program facility, a fledgling undergraduate research lab, a small business development center that has assisted a notable number of  businesses in Valencia county, and most notably, Valencia’s friendly, tight-knit team of faculty and staff who happily described their specialties in each area of campus we visited.

Following the campus tour, I had a delightful visit with faculty and staff during my “Coffee with the President” event where I discussed a few of my institutional priorities and how I am immersing myself in the history and culture of UNM and New Mexico, both as part of my listening tour as well as my exploratory adventures with my husband, Jeff.

During lunch, I was able to visit with the Valencia branch campus advisory board, chief officers and guests of Dr. Letteney. From my perspective, and after visiting each of the UNM branches, I have found that each campus has a tremendous opportunity to serve its community in a distinctive way. One of the common themes I heard during each branch campus visit was their pride in being part of The University of New Mexico.

After lunch we took a short drive to Belen for a tour of the remarkable Harvey House Museum, where I had the pleasure of talking to community members and historians. I was particularly intrigued by all the stringent rules Harvey Girls were required to adhere to when employed as waitresses in one of Fred Harvey’s restaurants.

Back to Los Lunas, I was welcomed at a wonderful local dining spot, Teofilos Restaurante, for taquitos, sopapillas and conversation. I spent time visiting and learning even more about Valencia county and its history, as well as all the friendly people who stopped by to visit, including Representatives Gail Armstrong and Kelly Fajardo, Economic Development manager Ralph Mims and several members of the Huning family, including Louis and Nancy Huning to name a few.

I would like to thank one and all in Valencia county – from faculty and staff, to all the community leaders and all those who live in the area for the great welcome, the hospitality and the commitment to work together to make The University of New Mexico the best it can be.