Las Vegas, N.M. – The Learning Community Foundation of Albuquerque donated $10,000 to a Highlands University campaign to raise $250,000 to increase high-impact practices like undergraduate research that boost student success.
Viola Martínez, a Highlands School of Education alumna and president of the Learning Community Foundation, made the gift to the Highlands Foundation.
“This high impact-practices endowment would be a proactive approach to increasing educational advances that will have a positive impact on the professors and students at Highlands,” Martínez said. “I hope this gift from the Learning Community Foundation will be a catalyst that encourages other people and organizations to donate to this important Highlands campaign so it reaches its goal.”
The New Mexico Higher Education Department will provide a 2:1 match if the Highlands Foundation raises $250,000 in private money by March 31, 2016, creating a permanent $750,000 endowment.
“The very generous gift from Ms. Viola Martínez will be put to good use on the Highlands campus,” said Highlands University President Sam Minner. “We seek to provide the best possible faculty development opportunities which, in turn, will mean even more highly engaging learning opportunities for our students. The impact of this gift will be felt on our campus for many years. I thank Viola for her strong support of HU.”
Minner said the HU-HIPs endowment is a rare opportunity to support the university’s students in perpetuity through interest earned on the $750,000 corpus, which is not touched.
If the HU-HIPs campaign is successful, the endowment proceeds will fund faculty development aimed at expanding high-impact practices at Highlands.
“Highlands already has a good reputation for promoting high-impact, transformative learning experiences for our students,” Minner said. “Please help us gain a regional and even national reputation as a university where students learn by participating in even more collaborative research, service-learning activities, internships, study abroad experiences and other high-impact practices.”
Tax deductible donations to the HU-HIPs campaign may be made online at www.nmhufoundation.org/hu-hips-make-a-difference, or mail your contribution for HU-HIPs to New Mexico Highlands Foundation, NMHU, Box 9000, Las Vegas, NM 87701.
Martínez said the Learning Community Foundation dissolved in 2015, and as a result there were excess funds that made the gift to the Highlands Foundation possible.
“I hold Highlands in my heart in many ways,” Martínez said. “The university provided me with scholarship money and an outstanding education, which in turn helped me build my career as an educator. Now it’s my turn to give back and help the institution that helped me.”
Martínez earned her M.A. from Highlands in educational administration with a minor in secondary education. She also earned her B.A. from Highlands with a major in literature/history and a minor in secondary education.
Her education career in New Mexico spans 36 years. The Las Vegas native’s first teaching job was as at West Las Vegas High School as a language arts teacher. She also taught language arts at Aztec High School in Aztec.
Most recently, Martínez was the principal of the Learning Community Charter School in Albuquerque from 2011 – 2014.
Her other education administration experience includes serving as the associate superintendent of the Central Consolidated Public School District in Kirtland, New Mexico, as principal at Ortiz Middle School in Santa Fe, and as assistant principal at Bernalillo High School in Bernalillo.
Martínez remains active in the Albuquerque community, serving in positions such as the Board of Trustees for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.