By Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent
Minnie Navarro played a key role at Eastern New Mexico University leaving behind a legacy of life for all those that were affected by her deeds of service and devotion.
Navarro died on Nov. 30, 2004.
In 1976, she worked for the College of Liberal Arts and Science as a secretary and later, in 1980, she moved to the position of records clerk. From that point on, her office was the only place where liberal arts and sciences students could go to complete their degree plan.
According to colleagues, Navarro always went far beyond her job description to help students fulfill their requirements for graduation.
“She was the kindest person I knew, but she had a difficult position,” said Navarro’s friend and colleague, Jan Frost, ENMU faculty member and Graduate Coordinator for anthropology and applied archeology.
“There were times when students couldn’t graduate and she helped them through it giving them guidance and encouragement along the way.”
“She was very tactful, outgoing, and supportive,” Frost said. “This was part of what drew students to her. She cared for them like they were people rather than “just” students.”
Navarro’s personality was one-of-a-kind, according to her friends. She filled a room with her smile and demeanor.
Sue Strickler, a professor of Political Science, said, “She wasn’t about the bureaucracy at ENMU, she was the ‘caring connection’ to an individual.”
Many students returned after graduation to thank Navarro for not giving up on them which led to them fulfilling their dreams of graduation and careers of their own, according to friends.
“She affected students because she was an anchor to them,” Strickler said.
Navarro demonstrated excellence at ENMU through her professionalism and sincerity until she retired from her position as the records clerk in 2004.
Her colleague and best friend, Joann Hays, the senior secretary for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said Navarro had a gallant way of facing adversity in the lives of others, as well as her own, regardless of what form it took.
“She always had a way of making people feel better about themselves, never putting them down,” said Hays, who added that her friendship with Navarro was a “once in a lifetime event.”
Navarro was born on Jan. 30, 1934, near Lake Arthur, to Minnie and Daniel A. Calhoun.
She graduated from Roswell High School in 1952 and moved to Portales in the late 1960s. In August of 1976 she began her career at ENMU retiring after 28 years.
During that time, she completed an associate’s degree in secretarial sciences in 1979 and a bachelor’s degree in 1985. She was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi on April 12, 1983. The outstanding Support Employee Award was presented to her several years ago, and the Spirit of Eastern award was given to her in 1997.