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Vázquez retires after 26 years at NMSU as educator, mentor, leader

Release Date: 17 Jun 2021
Vázquez retires after 26 years at NMSU as educator, mentor, leader

Regents Professor Luis A. Vázquez wore many hats during his 26-year tenure at New Mexico State University. From his first position in 1995 as an assistant professor in NMSU’s College of Education’s Counseling and Educational Psychology to his final one as associate vice president for research and graduate studies, Vázquez contributed his time and efforts in the classroom, laboratory and leadership settings. On June 1, he retired from the university. 

Vázquez said he will miss the relationships he built the most. He said he hopes NMSU maintains its strong focus on serving first-generation students and position as a Hispanic-Serving Institution.

“Diversity and excellence go together, and I really hope NMSU continues to focus on incorporating, embracing and truly have a collective sense of responsibility and accountability to the populations we serve here,” Vázquez said. 

During his NMSU career, he served as interim vice president for research from 2016-2018, associate dean of the Graduate School from 2007-2011 and department head in Counseling and Educational Psychology from 2001-2007. He was selected as a Regents Professor in 2006.

“It is impossible to adequately sum up all that Dr. Vazquez accomplished while at NMSU in a few sentences. Indeed, he positively impacted the College of Education, the Office of the VPR and the Graduate School,” said Luis Cifuentes, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School. “And he did so with an unwavering commitment to our students and to creating a more diverse, better HSI.”

Whether it was in a leadership role or faculty advocate during his time at NMSU, Vázquez said his education was an invaluable tool in aiding people and the university.

“What helped me the most was having my doctorate in counseling psychology,” Vázquez said. “My clinical skills helped me immensely to work across these different positions.”

Vázquez earned his Ph.D. in counseling psychology and a master’s degree in counseling and human development from the University of Iowa and bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Illinois State University.

With an abundant list of accomplishments achieved during his career, Vázquez said he was extremely proud of helping to develop the Maestro review system with Ed Zenisek, Physical Science Laboratory IT tech support manager, and Michelle Gavin, research integrity coordinator. The Maestro system allows researchers to complete, submit and manage their application for research involving human subjects, throughout the Institutional Review Board process and serves more than 1,500 researchers a year at NMSU.

As interim vice president for research, Vázquez helped develop interdisciplinary impact mini-grants to stimulate foundational research that resulted in five researchers receiving funding from national sources.

During his time as department head, Vázquez spearheaded efforts for the first online counseling program and integrated prescriptive privileges program for psychologists. New Mexico was the first state to pass the law for prescribing psychologists, and NMSU offered the prescriptive privileges program through the Counseling and Educational Psychology department, the only post-doc prescriptive privileges psychology program in the country housed in a public land-grant HSI in the country.

He supported three national accreditations and increased faculty diversity from 30 percent to 66 percent. Vázquez and his wife, Enedina Vázquez, founded the CEP Multicultural Research Symposium in 1996 and it is still celebrated every year since then by the CEP department, which brings in national speakers and showcases graduate students’ research in the college.

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