Las Vegas, NM — New Mexico Highlands University President Jim Fries appointed distinguished alumni Joe McCaffrey as interim vice president for advancement and interim executive director for the Highlands University Foundation, Inc.Before this appointment, McCaffrey served on the board of directors for the foundation. He has already started working on several projects to enhance alumni relations and jumpstart alumni giving. “The first goal is to re-establish the annual alumni phone-a-thon by the end of the calendar year,” McCaffrey said. “Another goal is to locate more of our alumni and enhance the database, which is an ongoing effort. The new Highland’s Web site will be a helpful resource, as it is designed to connect alumni with the university and each other.”McCaffrey said he plans to see the alumni newsletter re-established. Publication lapsed when the long-time editor retired for health reasons. He said he is also planning for an online version of the newsletter.McCaffrey said the market value of the Highland’s foundation endowment is approximately $4 million. He said an ambitious long-term goal for the foundation is to raise $5 million from donors for the new student center. “It’s important to keep emphasizing Highland’s positive aspects to potential donors so they feel their investment is well spent,” McCaffrey said. McCaffrey said he will stay on board until the university hires a permanent vice president for advancement/foundation executive director. The position is being advertised and will be filled later this year or in 2009.McCaffrey, a native New Mexican, started his higher education at Highlands, earning both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics/physics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in physics from Colorado State University. McCaffrey worked for 30 years at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. He started as a bench scientist and advanced to science and technology manager and was a pioneer in the emerging fields of computational science, scientific visualization, and distributing computing. McCaffrey was instrumental in developing global positioning system technology.During his career, he was also a computational engineering professor at Mississippi State University. After returning to Las Vegas in 2006, he taught as a visiting professor of computational engineering at Highlands for three semesters.McCaffrey and his wife of 49 years, Martha, raised four adult children: Christine, David, Timothy and Helen. McCaffrey is an avid runner and completed seven Boston marathons. He and Martha are both prizewinning photographers.