New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers speaks with the media following a meeting with Mayor Del Jurney, Thursday afternoon. (Mark Wilson Photo)
New Mexico State University President Garrey Carruthers has already hit the ground in Roswell, ready to implement new programs for the cooperative extension.
Helping businesses with marketing and eventually implementing a public health program at the local extension office are just two programs the new NMSU president plans to put into action in the next six months.
Carruthers spent Thursday afternoon speaking to local leaders and sharing his vision about the future for the university.
“This will be a new role for the cooperative extension,” Carruthers said.
Carruthers also plans to reach out into rural communities, including Chaves County, to share the latest water resource technology developed by NMSU, he said.
The program’s plan, just now in it’s beginning stages, has the possibility to provide ways to conserve water through the latest technology. Carruthers said NMSU’s progress could lead to a proposal to the state Legislature in January.
NMSU’s water resources research has added a dimension of software and technology management and innovation. The research now uses sensors and software to irrigate, for instance.
Other developments include the use of brackish water for new grasses that can be grown for playgrounds or ball fields. And the development of algae ponds to separate oil from water, for use in the oil fields.
“These are the kinds of things we can extend to communities,” Carruthers said.
For the “first time ever,” NMSU will turn its current strategic plan into a working business plan by funding its programs with $750,000-$1 million in the next year.
“One year from now, we will judge the experiment,” Carruthers said.
Part of the idea is to reach out, through the state’s cooperative extension offices, and help businesses develop marketing plans.
“We will help walk them through the marketing process,” he said. “We can help develop businesses in the state of New Mexico.”
As the agricultural industry employs fewer people, NMSU can better utilize its cooperative extension offices by implementing other programs, he said.
Another plan the university anticipates installing around the state is to put in place a medical professional in each extension office to run a public health program. The public health professional would provide information and spend the summer at the office, he said.
Another goal Carruthers will target in the next year is to improve NMSU’s athletics.
“Athletics is the biggest challenge in the world,” he said. “We’re in the bottom 90 percent. I think we’re off in the right direction in football.”
Carruthers, who became the first NMSU alumnus to be hired by NMSU as president in May, was governor from 1987 to 1991. He was dean of NMSU’s College of Business. He is a lifelong New Mexican.
He shared a few memories about his positive thoughts about NMSU with Roswell’s community Thursday. He recalled a few memories about his time as a student, and discovering his wife, of 53 years, at the school.
“It’s a caring community, transforming lives through discovery,” Carruthers said. “We let people discover themselves.”