UNM-Gallup Plans 40th Anniversary

For Release - September 3, 2008

UNM-Gallup will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Thursday, October 16, at 9:30 a.m. in the Commons of Gurley Hall. Among the expected guests are UNM President David Schmidly, UNM Provost Suzanne Trager Ortega and Marc Nigliazzo, UNM vice president in charge of Rio Rancho operations and branch academic affairs, as well as several of the founders and original “friends” of the college, previous college directors, community leaders, educators, government officials and many more.

          Among the founders to be recognized are the following:

•     Ernest Becenti Sr. -- Becenti was responsible for a motion in 1967 by the Gallup-McKinley County Board of Education to hold a district-wide tax levy to support a branch college.

•     The late Clair Gurley (represented by grandson Steve Gurley) -- The Gurley family donated four parcels of land, totaling approximately 70 acres, to the UNM-Gallup campus, which allowed the school to expand to its present dimensions today. The main college building, Gurley Hall, built in 1974, was named after the family.

•     Louis “Eddie” DePauli -- DePauli was a district judge who also served on the Advisory Board that advocated starting a community college in Gallup.

•     The late Ferrel Heady -- The president of the University of New Mexico, Heady met with legislators to request support of the UNM-Gallup Branch as the college was being formed.

• Van Dorn Hooker -- Director of the Architecture and Planning Department of UNM from 1963 to 1987, Hooker was responsible for having the design perspective of the UNM-Gallup campus in place prior to final approval.

•     Robert Lalicker -- A UNM employee from 1956 to 1984, Lalicker served as administrative assistant to President-Elect Ferrel Heady and was assigned to assist Gallup in starting a branch campus.

•     Bill Lewis – Bill Lewis will represent the Gallup Lions Club, which donated the building in which the first classes on the current site of UNM-Gallup were held. The Lions Club building most recently housed offices and offices for Community Affairs.

•     Paul McCollum -- A tireless ambassador of UNM-Gallup in its formative years, McCollum set up a Chamber of Commerce committee to establish a branch college in Gallup. He was a member of the campus’s Building Advisory Committee when it was formed in 1971, and was key in promoting a 1967 feasibility study for a branch college in Gallup.

•     The late Eric McCrossen -- Editor of the Gallup Independent in the late 1960’s, McCrossen loaned his editorial support to a publicity campaign in favor of the college.

•     Walter Wolf -- A UNM regent from March 1968 to December 1972, Wolf set up procedures so branch students could gain access to duplicate volumes and research materials from UNM’s library through the Gallup High School Library during the first years of the college’s existence.

•     The late Harvey Whitehill -- Executive manager of the Gallup Chamber of Commerce, Whitehill was instrumental in promoting the first mill levy election to benefit the college. He traveled throughout the state to promote the school, and rallied citizen support for the college. He also assisted in the 1967 feasibility study.

• The late John Zollinger -- Owner of the Gallup Independent, Zollinger used the newspaper to drum up support for the college. He also met with legislators in Santa Fe and officials at UNM to lobby for support.

      Others to be recognized include several “friends” of UNM-Gallup, including Octavia Fellin, Martin Link, Sally Noe, Martha Zollinger, as well as former Advisory Board members Barbara Stanley, J.R. Thompson, Ruby Wolf and Carmelita Sanchez.

      Additionally, several individuals who have played a significant role in UNM-Gallup’s history will be recognized, including the late Bob Adamson of the Gallup Lions Club; the late Bob Allen, former Mayor of Gallup and an Advisory Committee member; the late Jack Chapman, former Advisory Board Chair; the late Wayne Lewis of the Gallup Lions Club; the late Jimmy Miller, Gallup Schools administrator and Advisory Committee member; Gilbert Rangel, first graduate of UNM-Gallup; Boyce Russell, first instructor at UNM-Gallup; the late Chester Travelstead, former UNM vice president; the late L.O. Yandel, Gallup High instructor and director of the first college classes at Gallup High.

      Also to be recognized will be the past executive directors of UNM-Gallup, including the late Calvin Hall, Dr. Donald A. Gatzke, Dr. John Phillips, Dr. Robert Carlson and Dr. Elizabeth Miller. 

      The celebration will start with music and dancing by the Fernando Cellicion Dancers of Zuni, followed by introductions and recognition. There will be tours, refreshments, and a presentation of a special UNM-Gallup historical exhibit in the Gurley display case, created by UNM-Gallup adjunct instructor Martin Link.