Las Vegas, N.M. – LouElla Marr-Montoya distinguished herself as a higher education administrator, educator and counselor, as well as community leader and public servant, for more than 35 years. She served on the Highlands University Board of Regents from 2015 – 2019, serving two years as the vice-chair.
Marr-Montoya has been honored numerous times, including being chosen for the 25th Annual Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women in 2010. This year, Marr-Montoya is honored as the Highlands distinguished alumna for homecoming.
Bill García, who served on the Highlands Board of Regents with Marr-Montoya and is a current regent, nominated her for the honor.
“Ms. Montoya has worked to build capacity within her community and Highlands University by promoting achievement, scholarship and setting a great example for members of the Las Vegas community,” García said. “She is a strong believer in promoting higher education as a way of building her community through economic development and competence.”
García said Marr-Montoya has served her alma mater well, including leading the New Mexico Higher Education Regents’ Coalition as president, an elected position.
“I was privileged and honored to serve Highlands as a regent,” Marr-Montoya said. “As a regent, assuring accessibility, affordability, equity, inclusion, student success, accountability and shared governance was always paramount. I was humbled to be among such dedicated and talented individuals.”
Marr-Montoya said her belief in the power of education has motivated her throughout her life.
“Every student who walks across the stage at commencement inspired me,” Marr-Montoya said.
Marr-Montoya retired from Luna Community College in 2003 as director of the Office of Recruitment, Admission and Retention. During her Luna tenure, she helped develop and direct several award-winning programs including the Luna-U.S. Department of Energy Minority Technical Education Program that funded more than 2,000 scholarships, the Tech Prep Summer Program for area high school students, and the Luna-Intel Scholarship Program. For more than 20 years, Marr-Montoya served as a student counselor at Luna and performed numerous other major collegiate assignments.
Marr-Montoya has served in numerous leadership positions with organizations such as the Viles Foundation, which provides 5-year college scholarships to orphans and students with only one parent from San Miguel and Mora counties, the Highlands Alumni Association, and the Las Vegas/San Miguel Chamber of Commerce, to name a few. She established the Michael Marr Scholarship for student athletes in 1981 in memory of her first husband, a Highlands alumnus.
“These leadership positions based on service made it possible to have an impact inspiring students and encouraging success,” Marr-Montoya said.
Marr-Montoya graduated from Highlands in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology and completed a master’s degree in education and counseling in 1975.
“I received a great education at Highlands University. HU empowered me to succeed in my profession. I believe Highlands is the most important institution in Las Vegas and Northeastern New Mexico. I can’t imagine Las Vegas without HU,” said Marr-Montoya, a Las Vegas native.
Marr-Montoya is married to Abelino Montoya, has a daughter, Latania Marr, and three stepchildren, Melanie, Denise and Mark Montoya.