LAS VEGAS, NM – The mayor of Santa Fe will be New Mexico Highlands commencement speaker for the main campus’ 2017 ceremony.
Mayor Javier Gonzales served as the chairman of the Highlands University Board of Regents from 2005 – 2010.
“I’m a big believer in New Mexico Highlands and the education it provides,” Gonzales said. “I have a huge fondness for Highlands’ faculty and staff.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and congratulating the Class of 2017 and saying hello to family and friends,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales, a Santa Fe native, was the first in his family to attend college, earning his bachelor’s in accounting from New Mexico State University.
“Education opened up an incredible number of doors for me and has given me the skills to reach my full potential,” Gonzales said. “It’s allowed me to pursue my passion and put me in a position where I can positively influence my city and state.”
Gonzales’ public service includes two terms on the Santa Fe County Commission and the first Hispanic president of the National Association of Counties. He has also served as the Democratic Party of New Mexico chairman.
During his tenure as the mayor of Santa Fe, Gonzales has made national headlines as a champion for sanctuary cities, launched innovative community health programs, oversaw one of the largest expansions of the film industry in the country, and founded the Verde Fund, a public investment fund addressing climate change and poverty. This year, he is working to expand high-quality early childhood education in Santa Fe.
“First-generation students can face many challenges when they go to college,” said Highlands President Sam Minner. “Mayor Gonzales is an inspiring example of the transformative impact a university has on students and their families.
Highlands’ main campus commencement ceremony will be at 2 p.m. May 13 at the John A. Wilson Complex. Commencement details are online at www.nmhu.edu/commencement.