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NMSU names Mónica Torres next interim president, launches new search

  • Dr. Mónica Torres has been named interim president of the NMSU system
  • A new search for a permanent president will begin in April

At a special meeting Thursday, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents announced that Mónica Torres, chancellor of NMSU system community colleges, will serve as interim president of the NMSU system while a new search is conducted for the next permanent leader. Torres will succeed current Interim President Jay Gogue, who has served in that role since April 2023. She assumes her new role on May 1.

“Dr. Torres is an accomplished and visionary leader with a deep commitment to student success and a wealth of institutional knowledge of the NMSU system,” said Regents Chair Ammu Devasthali in a message to the NMSU community following the meeting. “We’re already working to ensure a smooth leadership transition for our community colleges, and will provide more details about that soon.”

Devasthali also thanked Gogue for his service as interim president over the past year. “We’re grateful for his leadership and that he stayed well beyond the time he initially committed,” she said. Gogue will remain in that role through May 10, allowing for a brief transition period.

Prior to her current role as chancellor of NMSU system community colleges, Torres served as Doña Ana Community College’s 10th president, first serving as interim leader beginning in September 2018 and later being appointed to the position on a permanent basis in May 2019. Her role was expanded in July 2023 to include oversight of all of NMSU’s community colleges.

“I appreciate the opportunity,” Torres said. “As you know, I have a long history with the New Mexico State University system. I am committed to the land-grant mission and to our status as an HSI and an MSI. I love that what we do as a system extends throughout the state of New Mexico, serving New Mexicans in rural and urban areas.

“We have work to do,” she continued. “I look forward to working with the faculty and staff across the system and with the Board of Regents to get that done.”

Torres has also previously served as a faculty member and department head in NMSU’s Department of English. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from NMSU, as well as a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in American studies with an emphasis in cultural studies.

The board also announced the members of a new search committee for the presidential search, which will be chaired by Devasthali. NMSU will again partner with search firm WittKieffer to identify candidates.

“We intend to move quickly with this process and our target is to select our new president by the end of the year,” Devasthali said.

The search committee members are:

  • Citlalli Benitez, Associated Students NMSU President
  • Vimal Chaitanya, Faculty Senate Chair-elect
  • Donna Johnson, Employee Council Chair
  • Marlene Chavez-Toivanen, Vice President for Academic Affairs at NMSU Grants
  • Enrico Pontelli, College of Arts & Sciences Dean
  • Jon Boren, Cooperative Extension Service Director and College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Associate Dean
  • Suzanne Quillen, Vice President of HealthCare Innovation at Ernest Health 
  • Margaret Hardin, who among other professional activities is a member of the NMSU Foundation Board of Directors
  • Rex Wilson, Southern Region Director Presbyterian Medical Services
  • Terra Winter, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico
  • Scott Hutchinson, Senior Manager, Electrical Sciences, Sandia Campus Executive for New Mexico State University

Devasthali said the board will provide additional updates about the search process as it gets underway. For more information about the NMSU presidential search, visit