Members

Debra P. Hicks

Debra P. Hicks, Regent

Debra P. Hicks, Chair

Regent Debra P. Hicks graduated from NMSU with a bachelor of science in civil engineering. After serving on both the New Mexico Transportation Commission and the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents, she returned to her alma mater being appointed in early 2015 by Governor Susana Martinez. In 2013, she was named New Mexico Woman of Influence by Albuquerque Business First.

In 1990, Hicks bought Pettigrew & Associates and proceeded to become the CEO and president. During her career, Hicks has gained experience in a variety of areas, including mining, multi-family housing projects, small and large-scale subdivisions.

Hicks has been involved with community outreach programs such as The Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, Leadership New Mexico, New Mexico Junior College, Palmer Drug Abuse Program and many others. Her community outreach focuses on organizations that support children, education and the arts.

Regent Hicks served as president for the Academy of Civil, Agricultural, and Geological Engineering at NMSU, providing feedback to the administrative team of the College of Engineering. Regent Hicks serves on the Regents Audit and Risk Committee and the Regents Real Estate Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Aggie Development, Inc. and the Arrowhead Board of Directors.

March 2015 – December 31, 2020.

Kari Mitchell

Kari Mitchell

Kari Mitchell, Vice Chair

Kari Mitchell is the CEO and owner of Las Cruces Machine, Mfg. & Engineering and serves on the executive committee of the Bridge of Southern New Mexico. Mitchell is a member of NMSU’s Town-Gown Commission, which aims to strengthen ties between the university and the community. She is past chair of the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance and was a founding board member of the New Mexico Economic Development Partnership. She holds an MBA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake as well as a bachelor’s in marketing and management from Adams State College. Regent Mitchell serves on the Regents Student Success Committee and Regents Financial Strategies, Performance and Budget Committee.

Term Expires December 31, 2018.

Mike Cheney

Image of Mike Cheney

Mike Cheney

Mike Cheney was formerly the Market President of WestStar Bank in Las Cruces and is now Managing Partner of Healing Source Chiropractic. He has worked in the banking industry for more than 25 years in various positions beginning with his first job in the mail room of a local bank in Hobbs, NM and holding positions as a loan officer, branch manager and Regional President in several communities throughout New Mexico.  Cheney, who was born and raised in Hobbs, New Mexico, received a bachelor’s degree in finance from NMSU in 1985 and has attended the Western States School of Banking and Norwest College of Credit.  Cheney has served as Chairman of the annual United Way Campaign for San Juan County, on the NMSU College of Business Advisory Council, member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the NMSU Board of Regents among many other areas of community involvement.  He currently serves on the Regents Real Estate Committee and is a member of the statewide ambassadorial group, New Mexico Amigos.

Term Expires December 31, 2016.

Jerean Camúñez Hutchinson

Jerean Camúñez Hutchinson

Jerean Camúñez Hutchinson, Secretary/Treasurer

Regent Jerean Camúñez Hutchinson is a Las Cruces native who was appointed to the NMSU Board of Regents in early 2015 by Governor Susana Martinez. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Systems Analysis at NMSU. She earned a Master of Science degree in Information Management from George Washington University.

Regent Jerean Hutchinson is the owner and manager of the famous La Posta de Mesilla Restaurant in Mesilla, New Mexico since returning to the area in 1996. The restaurant which has been in her family for decades is a destination and attraction in the Mesilla Valley and has been since its founding in 1939.

Regent Hutchinson is a graduate of Leadership New Mexico, Class of 2001. She has been honored with numerous awards on the local and statewide level. In addition to her NMSU accolades, she and her husband, Tom, were awarded the 2013 Restaurateur of the year Award from the New Mexico Restaurant Association. They were honored with the Governor’s New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award in 2014. Jerean and Tom are heralded for the service to their community and state.

Regent Hutchinson serves on the Regents Financial Strategies, Performance and Budget Committee, the Regents Student Success Committee, and will be the ex-officio member of The NMSU Foundation Board of Directors.

March 2015 – December 31, 2020.

Margie Vela

Margie Vela

As a native El Pasoan, Margie Vela grew up on the northeast side of town. As a first-generation college graduate, she holds a bachelor of science in business marketing and a master’s of business administration from the University of Phoenix. She will receive her doctoral degree in Water Science and Management from New Mexico State University in May 2019.

Regent Vela’s career has included implementing interventions aimed to close the gap in educational achievement for minority students. She worked with Child, Youth, and School Services at Fort Lee, to create apprenticeship opportunities and promote college readiness for high school age dependents of military families. Additionally, she implemented a successful program funded by the National Science Foundation at a Historically Black University to increase success rates for students pursuing STEM degrees. It was through these career experiences that she found her passion and calling for equity in education through research in the sciences.

Vela’s research as a PhD candidate focuses on the relationship between water equity, equity in education, and the implications on health for developing communities on the Southern border of the U.S. She works to empower youth in colonias to become engaged in citizen science for data driven solutions to water equity.

As a graduate student at NMSU, Regent Vela has been presented and pursued many great opportunities. As such, she is currently a Scholar for the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, funded by the National Institutes of Health. She has also served as a summer scholar and intern for the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. She is a Hispanic National Internship Program Fellow, and an alumnus of the Domenici Public Policy Scholar Program. Margie is a member of the MIT-Harvard-Tufts Water Diplomacy Network along with water diplomats from all over the world. Additionally, Vela was awarded the Best Graduate Student Presentation for her research at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science at the 2017 National Annual Conference. She has also been recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus for the University of Phoenix, and will deliver the commencement keynote and receive the award in December 2017.

She was recently appointed as Student Regent for the New Mexico State University Board of Regents by Governor Susana Martinez, and began her service to NMSU and the State of New Mexico in August 2017. In her role as Student Regent, Margie provides fiduciary oversight and management for the University from the student perspective. She advocates for students through and works to improve the student experience and success at NMSU.

Regent Vela serves on the Regents Audit and Risk Committee and the Arrowhead Board of Directors.

Term Expires December 31, 2018.