Clovis banker sworn in as ENMU regent

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

A Clovis banker has joined the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents.

At the regents meeting Wednesday in Santa Fe, Randy Harris, president of the Bank of Clovis, was sworn into his new position on the board, according to ENMU President Steven Gamble. Harris is a longtime Clovis resident and past president of the Committee of 50, an organization that supports Cannon Air Force Base.

“I think Regent Harris will be a great addition to our Board of Regents,” Gamble said. “The financial expertise he brings as a bank president will be very valuable to Eastern New Mexico University. The fact that Regent Harris is respected throughout the state for his work with Cannon Air Force Base is another plus.”

Gov. Bill Richardson appoints regents, and the state Senate ratifies them, Gamble said. He said Richardson chooses people he believes are familiar with the community, will take the job seriously, and will help the school.

Regents President Pauline Ponce expressed appreciation of Harris’ appointment as well.

“We’re very pleased that he’s come on board as one of our regents,” she said.

Ponce said Harris’ financial expertise would help as the regents looked over ENMU’s budget in current difficult economic times. She has appointed him the Audit and Finance Committee.

In another matter, Gamble said he reported an expected increase in enrollment for the spring semester.

Compared to this time last year, Gamble said, ENMU has a 4 percent increase. However, the university will not report its official enrollment figures until after Feb. 9.

“Actually, our increase seems to be mostly in online courses, in other words, students who are not physically on the campus taking courses,” Gamble said.

Enrollment increases bring in more tuition and fees, and bring the university closer to the threshold where it can receive more state money.

In other business, regents:

• heard ENMU is close to finalizing a contract with a construction company for work on the Music Building.

• heard officials hope to open the swimming pool in two weeks.

• heard the university is in the discussion and planning stage of the $9 million Technology Building renovation. The money comes from a General Obligation Bond. Ponce said the bond allowed the university to finish projects in hard financial times.

Harris could not be reached for comment.