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

Regents name Caldwell ENMU chancellor

Interim tag removed, contract extended through 2021-22


Last updated 9/25/2020 at 3:58pm

PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents met just 15 minutes in closed session Friday to discuss the path to selecting a permanent Portales campus president and chancellor for its three-campus system.

The path ended at Patrice Caldwell, who was named to the position after holding the interim title since April. By a 5-0 vote, regents also extended her contract to June 30, 2022.

“We are so thankful you have agreed to continue your position with the university,” Board of Regents President Terry Othick said. “We appreciate and respect your leadership.”

Other regents and participants in the virtual meeting echoed Othick’s praise for Caldwell, who first joined the university in 1980 as an assistant professor and served nearly a decade as dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences.

“Your communication with the board, your responsiveness has been outstanding,” Pyle said. “We appreciate it, we're behind you, and again congratulations.”

Caldwell, who was planning a summer retirement before taking the interim position, was adamant at the time she had no plans to apply for the permanent position. She said she isn’t sure what inspired the change of heart, but noted “humbling and overwhelming” support from the community and the campus.

“Any time I have a chance to do something more for Eastern, I’m going to want to do it,” Caldwell said. “Until I can no longer serve, I want to be a contributing part of the university and this community, to be a part of the solution to whatever is ahead for us.”

Othick said replacing a chancellor during a pandemic is not an easy task, but Caldwell has proven herself to be capable, competent and respectful in the post.

“I agree this is not an ideal time to become a president of a university,” Caldwell said. “But there are not five better regents to do it with and two better branch presidents to work with than Dr. Powell (Shawn, Roswell branch president) and Dr. Trosper (Ryan, Ruidoso branch president).”

Caldwell said her salary will remain at $200,000 annually. Regent Dan Patterson told The News Caldwell will receive a vehicle stipend. She will not receive a housing stipend, but will have the option to move into the presidential residence when renovations are complete. Patterson said earlier in the meeting the house has had asbestos removed and walls stripped, and the next step is getting cost estimates for renovations.


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