Typically in the past, the selection of a new president at New Mexico State University has brought with it a sense of mystery as a new leader moves into our community and works to get aquatinted with both university and civic leaders.

Such a getting-to-know-you period will not be necessary this time, as most of us have been familiar with Garrey Carruthers for some time, either through his term as governor from 1987 to 1991, or later as dean of the College of Business.

Carruthers is a known quantity. He is the first internal pick to run the university since William B. Conroy in 1997. Regents Chairman Mike Cheney said the many roles Carruthers has played made him the top pick among the five finalists for president. Along with heading the business college, Carruthers is vice president for economic development and director of the Domenici Institute.

"He represents as many stakeholders as we can expect one person to represent," Cheney said.

"He was a student, he was a faculty member, he was a dean, he was a governor, he's a business owner. It was just looking at the depth of the experience," added Regent Kari Mitchell.

The expectations for Carruthers will be great as he takes over at a time of turbulence, following the negotiated departure of his successor, Barbara Couture.

Among the first tasks will be to find a new provost and a new president for Doña Ana Community College. He'll also need to find his own replacement to head the business college.


Carruthers said he would form new committees to provide recommendations on the community college and the athletics program.

Carruthers was selected in a 3-2 vote, with two regents favoring Daniel Howard instead. Both of those regents now say they support and have faith in Carruthers.

His selection has also been greeted with a mixed reaction on campus, with a number of strong, loyal supporters, but also others who wonder if the deck wasn't stacked in his favor all along. Four local legislators objected to Carruthers' previous work for a tobacco-backed group and his views on climate change.

Those debates are no longer relevant. The regents have made their choice, and the university has a new president. It is now time to rally around the new leader.

During his public forum, Carruthers touted his fundraising and leadership experience, legislative connections and business acumen. He said his No. 1 job would be fundraising — an area where he has wide connections and proven ability.

At 73, Carruthers was the oldest of the five finalists. But, he appears to be in good health and with the vitality necessary to be president.

"I truly believe that the time is here for me to take on another challenge here at New Mexico State University," he said. "I don't have any plans to go on somewhere else This is my last stop."

We also thank Manuel Pacheco, who came out of retirement and brought leadership and stability to the university at a time when it was badly needed, following the messy separation with Couture. It was the second time Pacheco has been asked to temporarily take helm at NMSU. Both times he has helped ease the transition to a new leader.