The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Karl Terry

Best wishes on your next chapter, Dr. Gamble


Lean and lanky, half scarecrow and half history professor, at times it was hard to convince folks who didn’t know him, that unassuming man on campus was actually the university president. Never mind, there aren’t too many people on campus or in Portales that don’t count Steve Gamble as a friend now.

He came to our community in 2001 to take the helm of our most beloved institution, Eastern New Mexico University. As the ninth president of ENMU, Gamble quickly made himself at home in the community. Almost as quickly, those working with him came to realize just how untiringly he was prepared to work to better ENMU and its community.

Under his leadership, the institution has reached new heights in its quest for student success. While other universities in the state and the Southwest have suffered dwindling enrollment and numerous funding struggles over the last decade, ENMU has achieved a record high enrollment through rigorous recruitment and responsibility to its students and their families.

While Gamble has always been quick to credit his team or at times circumstance for that growth, it doesn’t happen year-after-year without solid leadership.

His efforts in Santa Fe and at home have helped the university maintain and improve its status among the most affordable universities in the Southwest. At the same time the campus has been transformed by numerous thoughtful building projects that have made the most of taxpayer dollars.

From a new Broadcast Center and the all-new Greyhound Stadium, which opened last fall, to a complete replacement of student housing, the accomplishments in infrastructure during Gamble’s tenure have been staggering considering the size of the university. The dedication there will serve ENMU and the community well for generations.

While he’s been a true giant in our community and state, he’s always been humble enough to get out in the halls and classrooms of the university and get to know his students. ENMU’s students can truly say they had the opportunity to rub shoulders with their president.

I’ve been around the man for a good part of his ENMU career, first as a newspaper editor and later as the chamber’s executive director, and I can’t think of many people for which I have more respect.

Yes, we’ve had differences from time to time and I usually knew when he wasn’t pleased with whatever I’d done or not done. He was always pleasant and understanding, and when you knew you had displeased him it was the same feeling as when you had let your mother or grandmother down. Letting him down was a huge conscience trip because he always went out of his way to accommodate my needs.

The simple fact that everyone referred to him formally as “Dr.” Gamble tells you just how much this community loves and respects this man.

Congratulations on your retirement Dr. Gamble and best wishes in the next chapter of your life.

Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:


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