Supporters: CCC president made great contributions to school

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

Enrollment increased. Funding was secured for a library and technology center. And Clovis Community College played a key role in recruiting two major businesses to the area.

Beverlee McClure had a lot to do with all of the above, her supporters said on Thursday, after she was introduced by Gov. Bill Richardson as secretary of the state’s newly created Higher Education Department.

McClure, 42, will be in charge of a department that monitors the 25 taxpayer-supported university and community college campuses in New Mexico.

CCC Board of Trustees’ members praised McClure for helping the two-year college grow in enrollment and infrastructure.

The enrollment for the fall semester in McClure’s first year in 1999 was 3,934, according to school figures. In the fall of 2004, enrollment had climbed to 4,200.

“She’s a great organizer,” said Robert Lydick, chair of the Board of Trustees. “She did very well to bring in legislation funding. Anything she was responsible for she was great at.”

Recently, the college was one of three New Mexico colleges that will receive federal funding to encourage more minority students to pursue a post-secondary education.

Clovis Community College will receive $516,000.

“That’s good news for the college,” board member Russell Muffley said. “We are trying to retain minorities and have them get their post-secondary education in New Mexico.”

Another of McClure’s prominent accomplishments was securing the funding for a new library/technology center, Muffley said, including a $750,000 private donation. CCC also received $3 million for a center for performing arts for cultural events.

“She did real well in legislation,” Muffley said. “She was well-versed on the politics of Santa Fe. She had the ability to communicate on the local level, also. She worked well with the local government entities.”

While naming McClure to the state post Thursday, Gov. Bill Richardson pointed out her involvement in helping bring the Southwest Cheese plant to Clovis, her recruitment of another company to work out of a call center facility near CCC and her help in staging the recent Base Realignment and Closure hearing — in an effort to convince national commissioners to keep Cannon Air Force Base off the closure list.

Lydick said board members will talk Wednesday about hiring an interim president and starting the search for McClure’s replacement.

Muffley said whoever takes over will face a lot of tough challenges if Cannon Air Force Base closes. He said the president will have to look at personnel or program cuts because CCC stands to lose approximately 25 percent of its enrollment.