Debra P. Hicks
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. As an NMSU Regent, she will serve on Regents’ Audit Committee, the Regents’ Real Estate Committee. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of Aggie Development, Inc.
March 2015 – December 31, 2020.
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 chairs 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
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.
As a Regent, she will serve on the Regents’ Budget Committee and will be the ex-officio member of The NMSU Foundation Board of Directors. With Regent Kari Mitchell, she is currently creating a new Regents’ Student Success Committee.
March 2015 – December 31, 2020.
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 is initiating a Regents’ Student Success Committee, which will be chartered in fall 2015.
Term Expires December 31, 2018
Student Regent Margie R. Vela holds a bachelor of science in business marketing and a master’s of business administration from the University of Phoenix. She was appointed as Student Regent for NMSU in January 2017 by Governor Susana Martinez, and began her service to NMSU in August 2017.
Vela began her doctoral studies at NMSU in August 2014, studying water science and management. Her research focuses on the relationship between access to water and the social development and public health of communities. She currently studies the Colonias of the Border Region, and their various water situations.
As a graduate student at NMSU, Vela has been afforded many great opportunities. As such, she is currently a Scholar for the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement. She has also served as a summer scholar for the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia; and a fellow of the Hispanic National Internship Program. She is an alumnus of the Domenici Public Policy Scholar Program; and a member of the MIT-Harvard-Tufts Water Diplomacy Network.
Regent Vela’s professional experience includes implementation of federally funded initiatives that aim to increase student success. She launched the HIRED! Program at the Fort Lee Garrison for college readiness and workforce readiness for high school aged military dependents. She also launched the Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enrichment at Delaware State University. Her passion and experience include promoting access to higher education and student success.
Term Expires Dec. 31, 2018