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GPSA shows off new office

Gordon salutes graduate students’ efforts at UNM

UNM President Bill Gordon pledged his commitment to supporting graduate and professional students during a GPSA open house Thursday.

Gordon and about 125 other administrators, faculty, staff and students gathered for the Graduate and Professional Student Association’s reception in its new offices at the lower level of the former bookstore southeast of Woodward Hall.

“When I first became a graduate student a couple of years ago, I learned two things right away — that graduate students are taken for granted for all the work they do and are the most important part of the campus,” Gordon said.

He said that, as a graduate student, he was expected to become a leader in his field in a way that would reflect favorably on his university and, as a teaching assistant, played a large role in the undergraduate education at his institution.

“Research programs don’t function without graduate students, and ours here at the University of New Mexico would be lost without the graduate students who help run it,” Gordon said. “It really is true that this institution’s success depends on the strength of the graduate programs.”

GPSA President Brian Col¢n noted that during last year’s open house, Gordon said he was committed to supporting graduate education.

“With his vision and that of vice president Julie Weaks, everyone in the executive cabinet and the Board of Regents, we were able to find $11 million to fund graduate student programs,” he said.

Gordon said he was proud of the strides made in graduate education, adding that such improvements could not come from the administrative area alone.

“The idea of health care for all graduate assistants was something that GPSA first brought up and was something we were able to do because of the graduate student government’s tireless support of it,” he said. “While many of our staff and faculty salaries were increased the past few years, we managed to increase the graduate student salaries at a higher percentage in an effort to pay a wage people could live on.”

He said that, last year, when the state Legislature opted not to fund full tuition waivers, he was proud that the University bit the bullet and fully funded the tuition waivers anyway.

“I would just encourage graduate students to stay involved in this organization and let the administration know if there are any impediments that get in the way of doing your jobs here so that we can do what we can to fix those problems,” Gordon said.

Regents Sandra Begay-Campbell and Eric Anaya were recognized at the ceremony and both said they are looking forward to working with GPSA.

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“UNM has some very successful graduate programs, but a lot still remains to be done,” Begay-Campbell said. “From my work at the national labs, I have seen a clear need locally for well-trained students, and I also know that nationally, there is an incredible demand for well-educated minority students. On the international front, the professional job market is also booming. I really believe that UNM can play a major role in filling those vacancies.”

Col¢n closed the ceremony by thanking those in attendance and encouraging them to visit the GPSA offices often.

“I had a dream that it was a quarter to four and President Gordon, all the vice presidents, a handful of deans and other key members of the administration were here, but we had no students,” Col¢n said. “President Gordon turned to me and said, ‘Boy, you really have the support of the students.’ Thankfully that’s not the case, and I am so proud to see that so many students were in attendance today. I just want them to know that what we’re really here to support students and that this ceremony is for them.”

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