March 3, 2023

Governor nominates regents for New Mexico colleges and universities

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham official photo.

By Margaret O’Hara, The Santa Fe New Mexican

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday nominated 10 people, including five students, to serve as regents at six public colleges and universities in the state.

The regent nominees must be confirmed by the Legislature to assume or continue their roles. If confirmed, they will serve a six-year term ending Dec. 31, 2028.

Lujan Grisham’s nominees included two new appointees to the University of New Mexico Board of Regents: Paul Blanchard and Paula Tackett.

Blanchard has extensive experience in construction and development and served as an executive for numerous companies managing racetracks, casinos, fitness centers and ranches, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office. Under former Gov. Bill Richardson, Blanchard served on the State Board of Finance and served as co-chairman of the Renewable Energy Transmission Authority. 

Tackett, meanwhile, retired from the New Mexico Legislative Council Service after serving for 22 years as director, the news release said. An attorney, she is active in the New Mexico State Bar Association. Among other boards, she serves on the governing council of the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe.

Srinivas Mukkamala was nominated as a new regent for New Mexico Tech. Mukkamala, who holds doctorate and master’s degrees in computer science from the school, is a cybersecurity expert.

Lujan Grisham reappointed two regents. Ammu Devasthali, who has been a member of the New Mexico State University Board of Regents since 2019 and serves as chairwoman, was nominated to maintain her position. Devasthali has been active in the Southern New Mexico art community for more than 15 years, the news release said.

Michael A. Martin, an El Rito rancher and current president of the Northern New Mexico College Board of Regents, also was nominated to retain his seat. Martin claims a long family history connected to Northern New Mexico College; he is the grandson of George Martin, the first president of the Spanish American Normal School established in 1909, which later became Northern.

The five student regents selected for two-year terms include:

  • Garrett Moseley, New Mexico State University.
  • Adrian Salastri, New Mexico Tech.
  • Logan O’Brien, Eastern New Mexico University.
  • Cody Rivera, New Mexico Highlands University.
  • Casandra Batista-Dauz, Northern New Mexico College.