Shaping the Future

of New Mexico State University

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Image Description

At New Mexico State University, our mission is to serve the diverse needs of our state through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension and outreach, and public service. As the state’s land-grant and space-grant university, and as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we foster learning, inquiry, diversity and inclusion, social mobility, and service to the broader community.

We are so fortunate at NMSU. Our university system is uniquely positioned. We’re in a location, near the U.S./ Mexico border, where individuals from all backgrounds and beliefs from all over the world have an opportunity to learn from one another, in an environment free from hostility.

There is so much to be excited about for NMSU’s future. This university system is a significant and meaningful engine of opportunity, innovation and entrepreneurship for the entire State of New Mexico, the region and the nation. Let’s get started.

Dan Arvizu Signature

Dan E. Arvizu, Chancellor

New Mexico State University

Renewable Energy



Sunlight gleams off a new installation of 10,000 solar panels standing between Interstate 10 and Interstate 25 in Las Cruces in a once-vacant, 29-acre lot on New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Park.

The site is now the home of Aggie Power, a solar array that will generate enough clean electricity to power about half of the 900-acre Las Cruces campus and serve as a living laboratory for NMSU students and faculty.

Aggie Power, now in its final stages of construction, is part of an ongoing partnership between NMSU and El Paso Electric to advance mutual goals on renewable energy, climate action and micro-grid development.

“NMSU is excited with our latest strategic partnership with EPE. These partnerships are critical to our goals to support a balanced and sustainable energy economy within and external to the NMSU system,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu. “Our partnership with EPE moves us forward in a leadership role and is a perfect example of our ability to balance investments in infrastructure while providing a state-of-the-art living laboratory to complement our educational programs.”

In 2018, NMSU and EPE signed off on a memorandum of understanding cementing their partnership and outlining the details of what would become Aggie Power. Construction began in December 2020 after the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved a special rate contract application from EPE, which allowed the project to proceed. The Albuquerque-based Affordable Solar served as the general contractor.

As part of its partnership with NMSU, EPE owns, operates, maintains and oversees Aggie Power.

“Aggie Power is a living example of the strength of public-private partnerships and the power we have to direct the path to our clean energy goal of 100 percent decarbonization by 2045,” said EPE President and CEO Kelly Tomblin. “When two long-standing, community-oriented institutions like NMSU and El Paso Electric join forces and accomplish something as groundbreaking as Aggie Power, imagine the other possibilities available when we all pull together and work toward a common goal.”

At its heart, Aggie Power is a three-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility with about 10,000 panels and a one-megawatt four-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system. It will be the largest source of green energy on NMSU’s Las Cruces campus once completed.

It will also serve as a state-of-the-art living laboratory for NMSU faculty and students majoring in electrical engineering, providing experiential learning and research opportunities.

Wayne Savage, executive director of Arrowhead Park, said onsite research would likely begin sometime next summer. Olga Lavrova, associate professor in the NMSU Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will oversee research efforts at Aggie Power.

“On one side, our faculty are very thrilled to do cutting-edge research on a new electric and power system and smart grid,” said Lakshmi Reddi, dean of the College of Engineering. “On the other side, we have very dedicated students who are asking for experiential learning opportunities, which facilities like this and partnerships like this allow us to do.”

After construction wraps up over the fall semester, Aggie Power will undergo extensive performance testing, Savage said. Then, it will begin supporting a portion of NMSU’s electrical utility load with renewable energy and storage, giving the university more flexibility in managing its utility rates.

“There has to be a couple of weeks’ worth of performance testing before they officially put her on,” he said.

NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu and El Paso Electric President and CEO Kelly Tomblin

NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu and El Paso Electric President and CEO Kelly Tomblin sign a solar panel during a celebration for Aggie Power.

Our partnership with EPE moves us forward in a leadership role and is a perfect example of our ability to balance investments in infrastructure while providing a state-of-the-art living laboratory to complement our educational programs.”

- NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu

NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu and El Paso Electric President and CEO Kelly Tomblin

NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu and El Paso Electric President and CEO Kelly Tomblin smile as they cut a ribbon in celebration of Aggie Power, a three-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility with about 10,000 solar panels on NMSU’s Arrowhead Park.

Ag Modernization

Modernizing NMSU's AG DISTRICT


Approved by New Mexico voters through general obligation bonds in 2018 and 2020, the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project broke ground in August 2021. The upgrades to these learning environments will help create an agricultural workforce that can advance the industry in New Mexico and help New Mexico’s economy grow.

Sheep from ACES college

A sheep from the ACES flock dons a festive hard hat in celebration of the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project.

“These projects don’t just happen overnight,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu. “We’re really modernizing our facilities to fulfill the needs of the future. Building new facilities will allow us to leapfrog from where we’ve been to where we need to go.”

Construction work on the two-phase project got underway in June. It includes the construction and modernization of facilities that support human health and biomedical research; student learning and public outreach; and food security and animal production efficiency.

The NMSU Las Cruces campus is unique among American collegiate campuses in that its agricultural district, which is approximately 164 acres in size, is adjacent to the campus core. The last major facility added to the agricultural district was Skeen Hall, constructed in 1999 as the Center for Sustainable Development of Arid Lands.

Being a land-grant university, any research that is done at NMSU fulfills not only its mission as an institution of higher learning, but also extends the fruits of our research out into every corner of our state — and beyond — to benefit the community at large.”

- NMSU Board of Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali

The $43 million allocated to NMSU over the two bond cycles represents the largest-ever single capital project investment in the university by the state of New Mexico. Even so, the state funding falls short of the total planned cost of the completed project. To bridge the gap, the NMSU Foundation has launched a $10 million fundraising campaign to support construction, furnishings and equipment to complete the facilities.

“This marks an exciting milestone for NMSU, the College of ACES and New Mexico’s agriculture industry,” said ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores Galarza. “These new facilities will lead to growth in research, teaching, outreach and service that will benefit all New Mexicans and allow us to continue the outstanding NMSU tradition of the land-grant mission exemplified by the work of Fabian Garcia early last century.”

The project’s first phase will focus on the construction of a biomedical research center; an animal nutrition and feed manufacturing facility; and a food science, security and safety facility.

The biomedical research center will serve researchers in three colleges and seven departments. It will increase NMSU’s capacity to conduct research that will attract more grants from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation. It will also boost the opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers and students in the colleges of ACES, Arts and Sciences, and Health, Education and Social Transformation.

The animal nutrition and feed manufacturing facility will provide students, researchers and industry stakeholders an opportunity to investigate the use of new feedstuffs and processing methods to improve livestock health and productivity.

The food science, security and safety facility will become an international hub in the border region, with labs to support emerging research areas like functional foods, nutraceuticals and minimizing water usage in food production. The facility will enhance opportunities for industry partnerships and create an additional revenue stream for the university through the services it will provide.

“I want to say a big thank-you to the citizens of New Mexico, who recognized the importance and potential impact of the work that will take place in these facilities once they come online,” NMSU Board of Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali said during the groundbreaking. “Being a land-grant university, any research that is done at NMSU fulfills not only its mission as an institution of higher learning, but also extends the fruits of our research out into every corner of our state — and beyond — to benefit the community at large.”

A group of people break ground

The NMSU Board of Regents, Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu, President John Floros, NMSU Foundation President Derek Dictson and a group of ACES faculty members help ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores Galarza break ground on the first phase of the Agricultural Modernization and Educational Facilities project in August.

Ag Modernization

21st- Century Farming

The Farm in a Box initiative will foster educational opportunities in horticulture, engineering and business. It will also generate fresh produce for residents of Cibola County.


New Mexico State University is partnering with Tri-State Generation and Transmission to join the Electric Power Research Institute’s National Demonstration and Monitoring of Indoor Food Production Facilities research project to explore indoor agriculture concepts.

The project will use a container-based farm to study the energy, water and sustainability impact of indoor farming, as well as explore opportunities to foster workforce and economic development in Cibola County, N.M.

Working with NMSU Grants and NMSU’s Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food and Agricultural Systems (CESFAS), Tri-State and EPRI installed an energy- and water-efficient shipping container-scale farm on the Grants campus to identify value-added alternatives for sustainable agriculture production in the region.

Created in 2019 by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the New Mexico Legislature to drive innovation and build closer links between research, communities and industry, CESFAS will direct the project’s research efforts with an interdisciplinary team of faculty members from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering and NMSU Grants.

Container farms enable food production in small, tightly controlled environments and provide a solution to food deserts — areas that grapple with limited access to affordable, nutritious foods. They also offer the potential to promote the integration of clean and energy efficient technologies for a historically energy intensive industry. The farm has the capability to produce lettuce, kale, arugula herbs, flowers, carrots, radishes and other crops.

“Indoor farming offers the year-round ability to produce healthy food for the community while using water and energy in a more efficient manner,” said Rob Chapman, senior vice president of Energy Delivery and Customer Solutions at EPRI. “EPRI’s indoor food production research offers numerous educational opportunities for project collaborators, university students, the local community, collaborating utilities and the next generation of farmers to enhance food availability.”

inside of the Grants Container

From left to right: Board of Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali, College of ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores Galarza, NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu and Sheryl Arvizu tour the inside of the Grants Container during the ground breaking.

Tri-State is providing the funding for this EPRI container-farm project. Tri-State also is providing a one-time grant that will cover costs associated with the indoor food production system and related analysis.

“Tri-State is finding innovative ways to leverage our relationship with EPRI to benefit our members’ communities,” Tri-State CEO Duane Highley said. “Programs such as Farm in a Box bring new educational and economic opportunities to New Mexico communities, including those impacted by the energy transition.”

The 40-foot container, valued at approximately $150,000, is equipped with energy efficient LED lighting, efficiency cooling, integrated climate control and plumbing infrastructure needed to grow crops inside the container on a year-round basis. Since 2015, EPRI has been examining the operational, technological, sustainability and environmental characteristics for indoor agriculture by installing container farms across the United States and assessing their performance with local electricity providers, academic institutions and other community organizations.

Once in operation, the container farm will provide educational opportunities for NMSU students in disciplines that include horticulture, engineering and business. It also will generate fresh produce for residents of Cibola County, where 29 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We’re looking forward to working with Tri-State,” NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu said. “They will be an important partner in our efforts to look for new options in both energy efficiency as well as economic development for our state.”

Over a three-year research period, the project will address issues related to food security, workforce development, job creation and economic development.

“This project … will empower students to grow food for their communities, benefit from experiential learning and curricular enhancement, and gain supervised work experience,” said Jay Lillywhite, CESFAS co-director and NMSU professor.

The research team will spend the first year of the program learning the operations of the container farm, which features an energy efficient vertical hydroponics system. The team also will develop specific knowledge in the areas of efficient operation and production protocols for the container farm.

During the second year of the project, the researchers will examine potential advancements in food crop selection, technological advancement in sensor technology and additional workforce development opportunities. In the third year, they will then focus on the economic sustainability of container farms, the integration of solar energy and battery storage, and improving container farming economies of scale.

“The project has excellent potential to address social, environmental and economic facets of sustainability and become a resource-efficient model for urban agriculture, provided that renewable energy can be incorporated from the beginning,” College of ACES Dean Rolando A. Flores said.

Conference USA Press Conference
Athletic Upgrades & Improvements

C-USA Here We Come


After being affiliated with the Western Athletic Conference for nearly 20 years, New Mexico State University will be bearing a new conference flag beginning Saturday, July 1, 2023.

In an announcement issued in November 2021 by NMSU and Conference USA, NMSU has accepted an invitation to join the league in the summer of 2023.

NMSU — along with Jacksonville State, Liberty University and Sam Houston State University — will join the ranks of Conference USA beginning in 2023-24.

“We are incredibly excited about adding these four new members and feel there is tremendous upside in these moves for our conference,” said Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod. “This is a quality mix of established and emerging universities that provides us with a compelling group to continue to build with, focusing on competing for and winning championships well into the future. We have been deliberate in our efforts for the past few weeks to get us to this point and will continue to evaluate and consider our additional options for membership.”

The announcement means NMSU’s football program, which is currently one of seven FBS independent teams, will be affiliated with a conference for the first time since being a part of the Sun Belt from 2014-17. In addition to the Aggies’ football team, all 15 of NMSU’s other NCAA Division I men’s and women’s athletic programs will become fullfledged members of C-USA.

“We’re delighted to be counted among the outstanding universities that make up Conference USA,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu at the time of the announcement. “Finding a home for all of our athletic teams, in a league that sponsors FBS football, has been a priority for us for many years. Today’s agreement puts our university in the best position for success and we are looking forward to the bright future ahead of us.”

NMSU has been a part of the Western Athletic Conference since 2005. Upon becoming a member of C-USA beginning in the 2023-24 academic year, NMSU will have been a part of a total of five conferences in the history of its university including the Border Conference (1931-62), Missouri Valley Conference (1971-83), the Pacific Coast Athletic Association/Big West Conference (1983-2001), the Sun Belt Conference (2001-05), the Western Athletic Conference (2005-23) and Conference USA (2023-present).


“Ever since our last football game we played as a conference member, the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl win in front of 25,000 members of Aggie Nation, my primary goal for that program was to return to a conference,” commented Director of Athletics Mario Moccia. “Today that goal has become a reality. Playing football as an FBS Independent in 2018, 2019 and this season has been a challenging experience. Becoming a member of Conference USA is a significant day in our athletic department’s history.”

NMSU’s addition, as well as the addition of the three other universities from around the country, was approved unanimously by the C-USA’s Board of Directors.

“Conference USA is a founding member of the College Football Playoff and will provide access to funding that will help all our athletic teams and 400 Aggie student-athletes,” Moccia continued. “We look forward to all of our teams competing for Conference USA championships in the not so distant future and our fans becoming acquainted with new conference opponents. I know Aggie Nation is anxious to create new rivalries with programs from around the nation, especially when it comes to our men’s basketball program which has long been one of the premier mid-majors in the land.”

Conference USA is an NCAA Division I athletic conference based in Dallas, Texas. Now in its third decade, Conference USA has adapted to the ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics with an unwavering commitment to excellence, integrity and leadership in competition, academics and community.

Enrollment & Student Success

The New Mexico State University system saw a small drop in enrollment for the fall 2021 semester over the previous fall, driven primarily by a decline in continuing undergraduate students. NMSU-O, the university’s online campus, has seen year-over-year growth.

NMSU had a total of 21,694 students across all campuses on Sept. 3, the university’s fall 2021 census date. That’s a drop of 3 percent from the number recorded the previous year systemwide. NMSU’s Las Cruces campus counted 13,904 students, a decrease of 2.3 percent. That includes 2,674 graduate students, up by 0.8 percent over the previous fall.

Vice President for Student Success Renay Scott said the university has introduced several new strategies to counter some of the key challenges presented by the pandemic and help boost retention for undergraduate students.

“I met with several students last year who reported they were writing papers on their phones,” Scott said. “It became clear that access to technology and the need for technology skill enhancement were necessary for student success.”

One such strategy is the Aggie Launch Pad initiative, which provides each first-time, full-time freshman an iPad bundle and offers all students opportunities to learn digital literacy and technology skills to help students become more productive in academic coursework.

While the pandemic revealed some challenges for traditional undergraduate and graduate course delivery, it also may have boosted interest in programming specifically geared toward adult learners seeking a fully online learning environment. Enrollment at NMSU-O increased about 10 percent to 1,220 students, thanks in part to a strategic shift in the program’s design.

“Throughout the last year, we have strategically developed an online operation that enhances the student journey, starting from the inquiry phase and continuing throughout the entire learning experience,” said Sherry Kollmann, who joined NMSU in March 2020 as Vice Provost for Digital Learning Initiatives. “As part of this intentional focus, a key area was developing programs that are designed specifically for the adult learner in an 8-week accelerated model. This accelerated model allows our adult learners the ability to bring their lived experiences into a learning environment.”

Enrollment change at NMSU’s community colleges was mixed, with some campuses seeing double-digit growth and others declining. NMSU Carlsbad grew by 13.1 percent to 1,361 students, while NMSU Grants grew by 11.3 percent to 692 students. NMSU Alamogordo saw relatively flat enrollment, increasing by 0.5 percent to 946 students, while NMSU’s largest two-year campus, Doña Ana Community College, experienced a drop of 8.2 percent to 6,454 students.

Enrollment & Student Success

Ten NMSU students selected for the Physical Science Laboratory Classified Ready Employee Workforce or CREW program started their journey and exploration into the national security sector this fall semester.

Students in PSL’s CREW program are matched with cooperative education employers and participate in a national security seminar series. Their engagement in this unique program opens the door for these students to graduate with their national security clearance in-hand and ready to enter the national security and defense workforce.

NMSU students joining the CREW program in 2021 include: (major and co-op placement)

  • Robert Armendariz, electrical engineering, PSL Telemetry and Missile Systems Divisions
  • Micah Cheng-Guajardo, aerospace and mechanical engineering, Los Alamos National Lab
  • Mason Curtin, aerospace and mechanical engineering, Los Alamos National Lab
  • Kaia Garley, information and communication technology, PSL Information Security Operations Center
  • Scott Komar, aerospace and mechanical engineering, X-Bow Systems
  • Stephen Moreno, computer science, PSL Information Science and Security Systems Division
  • Irene Richter, human resource management, PSL Facility Security
  • Gabriela Salas, industrial engineering, PSL Quality Assurance
  • George Sandoval, computer science, Sandia National Labs
  • Queztal Soto, electrical engineering, PSL Telemetry and Missile Systems Division

These students join the one-year program as the second cohort who have participated in the dynamic co-op program hosted by PSL in partnership with national security industrial leaders such as General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories and X-Bow Systems.

This year’s national security seminar series was taught by retired Army Col. Alan Wiernicki. He currently serves as the chief quality officer for El Paso Independent School District. Wiernicki is a decorated Army veteran, retiring as a colonel in 2018 after 26 years of active service. His occupational specialty was air and missile defense operations, and he commanded at every level from battery to brigade.

“Working with leadership throughout the defense and intelligence sectors, PSL is keenly aware of the critical workforce needs and challenges faced by national security and defense employers,” PSL Director Eric Sanchez said. “The acute need to strengthen the national security and defense workforce pipeline spurred NMSU and PSL leadership to invest and launch the Classified Ready Employee Workforce program.”

“There are a diversity of career opportunities throughout the national security sector. The CREW program represents an innovative solution for companies and government agencies facing the immense challenge of ensuring a robust cleared workforce pipeline,” NMSU Chancellor Dan E. Arvizu said.

Launched in 2020, PSL’s CREW program’s mission is to develop a diverse pool of classified-ready professionals with the necessary technical, professional and interpersonal skills required to pursue successful careers in support of national security.

Expanding Partnerships


New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces campus has been swarmed by robots — the cute, fast and efficient kind delivering hot and delicious meals.

The Kiwibot food delivery service launched at NMSU just before the fall 2021 semester started, giving students moving into campus dorms a quick option to get fresh meals from Sodexo-serviced locations on campus. Meals are ordered through the Sodexo Bite+ app and paid for as part of a meal plan subscription or a la carte.

While the service was developed with students’ needs in mind, it is also available to NMSU faculty and staff. For now, meal options are limited to Sodexo offerings, but there are plans to expand to various campus eateries.

“We launch[ed] Kiwibot at select Sodexoserviced locations as we test and perfect the program,” said Dwayne Wisniewski, director of NMSU Dining. “Our goal is to expand it … to more than 10 food outlets across campus, including Subway, Chick-fil-A and Einstein Bros. Bagels.”

Kiwibots deliver food via a locked compartment that only the recipient can open through the Bite+ app. Each robot is thoroughly sanitized between deliveries. Average delivery time is 20 to 35 minutes, depending on distance and peak meal delivery times.

“We are excited to grow our robot food delivery service with Kiwibot and provide customers with a safe, convenient, contactless and innovative solution,” said Aurelia Valot, Sodexo vice president of Digital Transformation and Innovation.

Kiwibot, a company based in Berkeley, California, has been met with great success at University of Denver, downtown San Jose, Calif., Medellín, Colombia, and Taipei, Taiwan.

David Rodriguez, director of strategy and business operations at Kiwibot, said Kiwibot launched in 2017 in Colombia, and started expanding in the U.S. last year. Kiwibot’s popularity grew when the COVID-19 pandemic created a demand for delivery services, and was also used to deliver food for food pantries at several locations.

Kiwibot delivery hours are dependent on regular Sodexo location business hours.


The Kiwibot provides faculty, staff and students a safe, convenient and contactless solution to their food delivery needs.

COVID-19 Response



New Mexico State University’s COVID-19 Strategic Support Team received a MarCom Platinum Award in team achievement for its work in creating the NMSU Now COVID-19 Pandemic Action Plan currently used by the university. NMSU’s Marketing and Communications office also received several other awards for its work to share news and promote the university.

Sheep from ACES college

The MarCom Awards are an international creative competition that recognizes the outstanding achievements of marketing and communication professionals. The awards are administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

“The COVID-19 Strategic Support Team, working to coordinate all safety information on behalf of NMSU, deserves this recognition,” said Ruth Johnston, vice chancellor and chief COVID-19 officer. “SST members continue to work tirelessly to keep our community informed, engaged and safe — and the variety in communication has been key to that effectiveness.”

The Strategic Support Team was made up of key personnel from various campus organizations. In addition to Johnston, the team includes Jon Webster, COVID-19 project manager; Melody Munson McGee, chief of staff for the president; Polly Wagner, interim director for environmental health safety and risk management; Amanda Bradford, director of communications and media relations; Melissa Chavira, executive director of marketing, web and brand management; Lauren Goldstein, organizational development specialist; and Gena Barela, executive assistant for the vice chancellor. To view the COVID-19 Response Plan, visit An overview of the award submission can be found at

NMSU also received a platinum award for video and audio for its brand anthem video, NMSU Journeys. The video features a number of NMSU students and highlights their academic journeys. NMSU’s Marketing and Communications Office worked with Colin Doherty, executive producer and owner of Hook Interactive, a production company in Lexington, Kentucky to develop the piece. To watch the brand anthem, visit

Additionally, NMSU received the gold award in print media for the spring 2021 issue of Panorama, NMSU’s alumni and friends magazine. Panorama editorial staff includes Editor Tiffany Acosta, Assistant Editor Adriana Chavez, and Art Director Gerald Rel. Visit for access to the latest edition of the magazine.