Jane Batson of Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell is greeted by well-wishers during her retirement party, Thursday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
After dedicating 23 years to education, Jane Batson is retiring and moving on to be more involved in other endeavors throughout the community.
Originally working in various healthcare positions in the community after receiving a nursing degree, Batson joined the Eastern New Mexico-Roswell family in 1975 as a pediatric nursing instructor. In 1988, she was the director of the Training Program for the Developmentally Disabled for a year before becoming the dean of health at ENMU-R.
She serves as the interim assistant vice president for external affairs, but come Monday she will be officially retired.
As people milled around eating cake and drinking punch, many hugged Batson saying, “You’ll be back.” Batson, however, disagrees.
She wants to take advantage of her newly opened schedule to do more around the community.
“I want to focus on homeless issues and things dear to my heart,” she said. This also includes getting people access to healthcare and working with children.
Already involved in many organizations in town, she is currently the education chair for the 2013 United Way campaign.
She also has had a part in starting up projects in the community, including OUR Corporation, the UNITY Center, Move with Blue and the Chaves County Pharmacy. But one of her most important moments, according to friend and colleague Leslie Andrews, was the collaboration to start the Emergency Medical Technician and Nursing Program at University High.
“Kids can be certified when they leave now, and that’s all thanks to Jane’s leadership,” Andrews said.
“That was a long time ago,” Batson piggy-backed, referencing the program’s humble beginnings.
But according to Andrews, Batson has always been a dedicated friend and peer in the workplace.
“She’s just so open to whatever it takes to get the job done,” Andrews said. “She is focused on the goal and finds the right people (to get it done.) She’s amazing.”
With no more work, Batson is excited to get out and spend more time with her husband, Jack Batson, and her daughter, Shannon Batson; as well as visit her son, John Batson and his wife and baby in Texas. But part of her will miss her job and the people she met there.
“I really loved it here,” she said. “I think I’ll (miss) the students. I really loved working with them, but I’ll see them in the community.”
Those who worked with Batson will miss her. But to honor all she did for the community, as well as to thank her in advance for the things she still plans to do, Sept. 26 was officially proclaimed “Jane Batson Day.”