WNMU's "Bash on Broadway" Swings into Gear as President Shepard Addresses the "State of the University"

Article and photo by Charlie McKee

On Friday evening, August 16, 2013, Western New Mexico University (WNMU) students, in all manner of purple and gold garb, gathered on Broadway in historic downtown Silver City for the third annual "Bash on Broadway" party for new and returning students.

Meanwhile, a couple of blocks down Bullard Street from the Bash in the Silco Theater, WNMU President Joseph Shepard made his second annual presentation on the "state of the University" to interested residents.

As Shepard enters his third year at the helm of the University, he announced that 24 new faculty members have been added to the staff through both attrition and growth in an ongoing effort to revitalize, revamp and reinvent the organization.  University organizational changes include the following:
•    Jose Herrera as the new Dean of Arts and Sciences;
•    Magdaleno Manzanares as the Vice President of External Affairs, which includes Community Outreach and Technology;
•    Danny Reyes as Associate Professor of Music to bring music back to the University;
•    Three additional faculty in Fine Arts; and
•    Jack Crocker as Provost of Academic Affairs.

Shepard noted that the changes reflect his continuing effort to fulfill his hiring commitment to bridge two chasms: 1) the chasm between the University and the Town; and 2) the chasm between the Anglo and Hispanic communities.

Shepard then proceeded to explain both accomplishments and plans to improve the physical plant of the University, including new facilities, renovations of existing facilities, and improvements in the infrastructure.  These include plans for the following:
•    Renovations to the Fine Arts Center Theater;
•    Major renovations to historic Light Hall (built in 1927) to include expansion of the stage and handicapped access, outdoor patio and seating for outdoor performances, and refurbished office space;
•    Upgrading of science labs in Harlan Hall; and
•    Air conditioning and fire retardant systems in the WNMU Museum to protect the Mimbres pottery collection and other invaluable pieces; and
•    New student housing in "Mustang Village," which includes Buildings A and B, the recently completed 175-student apartment complex (93% occupied); Building C, the next phase of apartments for graduate students; and the last phase of residences, which will replace the existing Freshman dormitories.

Shepard also emphasized the significance of recently undertaken improvements in the University's technology infrastructure, citing a major upgrade in its Internet connectivity to five times its previous broadband capacity, as well as the addition of a new network server, new routers, and separation of remote facilities and dorms to ease network traffic.  He stated that he is currently in the process of recruiting a new Director of Technology.

The WNMU President then opened his presentation to questions from the audience, to which he replied:
•    Upcoming year enrollment remains relatively static at 3,600 to 3,800 students, with a goal to increase to 5,000 students within five years.
•    While the new Professor of Music will bring back a music program to the school, a marching band is not in the near term plan as it is an extremely expensive proposition.
•    The Computer Science program has been terminated, as it was not a strong program and the enrollment does not support it.
•    The University is actively supporting vocational programs in Applied Technology, in addition to its academic programs.
•    The new Master Plan for the University, which will outline the overall facilities design for five, ten, and twenty years into the future, will incorporate plans that are ecologically sound and ADA compliant.

Shepard then concluded his presentation by urging the attendees to join the fun and enjoy the music of Danny Reyes and his band at the Bash on Broadway.

Live from Silver City

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