UNM agreement gives Mesalands undergraduate potential

Thomas Garcia

A Tucumcari High School graduate’s efforts to bring undergraduate studies to Tucumcari comes to reality with a partnership between the University of New Mexico and Mesalands Community College.

Jeronimo Dominguez, a 1966 THS graduate, serves as the vice president of UNM’s Extended University.

“It is a dream come true to come here to Mesalands and bring the University of New Mexico with me,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez signed a letter of agreement with Mesalands President Phillip O. Barry on Tuesday, marking the beginning of a partnership between UNM and Mesalands.

“UNM will focus on the strength of this college, so students can move on and forward,” Barry said

The agreement would make UNM’s business administration and early childhood education undergraduate degrees (bachelor’s) available at Mesalands. The courses would be made available to students through the Internet and interactive television (ITV) courses at Mesalands.

“Technology has given us to tools to finally offer these types of programs to eastern New Mexico, which has been overlooked for too long,” Dominguez said.

The business administration and early childhood education associate degrees are two of the strongest programs at Mesalands, said Natalie Gillard, dean of academic affairs.

“These are transfer programs,” Gillard said. “Students who complete the associate program would look to transfer to a university to continue their education. This will allow the students to remain at Mesalands and continue their education.”

Recent graduates or people with an associates degree in business administration or early childhood education would be able to take advantage of this new partnership, said Kimberly Hanna, Mesalands Public Information officer.

Dominquez said bringing undergraduate courses to Tucumcari has been a lifelong commitment for him. He said when he graduated in 1966 he noticed several of his teachers had to go to Portales or Las Vegas to continue their education and maintain their certification and degree requirements.

“I always asked, ‘Why don’t the universities come here to Tucumcari?’” Dominguez said. “Now I have had a hand in bringing UNM to Tucumcari. I am very excited to be a part of this effort, for not just Tucumcari but for all of Quay County.”