Faculty, staff and students have made this year a time of major accomplishments at New Mexico Highlands, said the university’s president, Jim Fries. “Every person here who is doing their job, whether it’s on the grounds, in the classroom or in the office, is an essential part in how we build our reputation, enrollment and pride,” Fries told approximately 300 of the university’s faculty and staff during the annual employee recognition breakfast. Fries noted the increase in the number of new student applications, approximately 46 percent over last year, is a strong sign of Highlands’ reputation. “It is clear we should have a significant increase in new freshmen,” Fries said. “And we are close to doubling the number of international students in the not-too-distant future.” Fries said the university’s recent budget proposal streamlines funding, and is a sign of healthy, balanced finances for the university, and invests in the most import assets of the university — its employees. “I have often said, institutions don’t make things happen, people do,” Fries said. “If that’s true, you invest in and support your people.”In my view, one of the most important goals for the university is to foster a working and learning environment that fosters integrity, responsibility, tolerance, fairness, quality and accountability,” Fries said. During the ceremony, Fries recognized 52 employees for their years of service, including natural sciences professor Maureen Romine, who has worked at New Mexico Highlands for 35 years. Fries also recognized 10 Highlands employees who have or are retiring this year, and awarded natural sciences professor Carol Linder and Scheduling Assistant Andrea Crespin for the university’s Outstanding Service Award.