Eastern Mexico University: Igniting the Lamp of Education
Eastern Mexico University

Long before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, generations of some of the earliest New World inhabitants hunted and camped at Blackwater Draw in eastern New Mexico. In 1912, the New Mexico constitution authorized an institution of higher education on the east side of the state. Today, situated on the high plains of the Llano Estacado in a region noted for dairy, farming and ranching, and the production of Valencia peanuts, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) holds true to that promise and to the values and needs of its community in Portales, the county seat of Roosevelt County.

A Learning Journey – Nurturing Creativity and Innovation

As New Mexico’s largest regional comprehensive university, Eastern New Mexico University enjoys an 84-year legacy of service, opening as a junior college in 1934 for 165 students. Construction of the Administration Building began in 1931 before its opening in 1934 as a two-year college. With the addition of the third and fourth years of college courses in 1940 and graduate programs in 1949, the institution officially became a university.

From its inception, ENMU has reflected and honored traditional values while remaking itself to meet new and emerging educational needs. A spacious campus serving over 6,000 students, Eastern has attractive residence halls, modern classroom buildings, state-of-the-art computer and research labs, and a wide range of online programs, internships and on-campus employment opportunities for students. The one constant throughout its history is ENMU’s overarching goal: to place students and student learning at the center of every institutional action and activity.

“Eastern New Mexico University combines a traditional learning environment with 21st century technology to provide a rich educational experience. Eastern emphasizes liberal learning, freedom of inquiry, cultural diversity and whole student life. Excellent teaching and active learning define campus relationships. Scholarship, both primary and applied, cultural enrichment and professional service are also important contributions of the University community.”

Initiatives – Centers of Excellence

The University offers a vibrant campus life that supports a diverse student body. Academic programs stress quality academics and supportive faculty advising and mentoring. Both traditional and cutting-edge programs are part of Eastern’s curriculum offerings. An on-campus swimming pool, wellness facility, basketball and tennis courts keep ENMU “Greyhounds” active while campus houses run by area churches address students’ spiritual health.

ENMU competes in 14 varsity sports in the largest NCAA DII conference in the nation, the Lone Star Conference, and hosts a strong intramural program for students, faculty and staff providing additional opportunities to remain active. A wide range of student organizations and interest groups offers students the chance to work with others in their majors to prepare for careers, perform community service, or participate in student government.

Embracing the Global Culture:

ENMU believes in the philosophy that quality education and learning should teach students to find their place in a global world. Campus events showcase these learning opportunities throughout the academic year:

  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15)
  • Native American Heritage (November)
  • Black History Month (February)
  • Women’s History Month (March)
  • Events celebrating traditions highlighted by the International students
  • Various educational events and activities programmed by the Office of Multicultural Affairs showcase African-American, Hispanic, International, and Native Affairs.

Multicultural Affairs also works to educate students through workshops and collaborations with other departments and grants about global issues and concerns. Students, faculty and staff of every ethnicity work together to embrace and encourage multicultural awareness.

Multicultural Affairs culmination – A highpoint each spring is the Graduation Sashing Banquet, attended by families and friends of graduating students. Undergraduate and graduate students are presented with tribal sashes, Kentes, and country of heritage/ancestry sashes to wear at commencement. Each has the opportunity to address the audience with a personal comment about their educational experience and future goals. By honoring the families and heritage of students in this ceremony, the University demonstrates its commitment to recognizing the role family and culture play is shaping students’ educational careers and choices.

Eastern’s Vision

The Eastern community envisions a University where each faculty and staff member instills in one another and in the students a sense of social and cultural awareness and responsibility. The University accomplishes this by embracing ethnic, racial and cultural diversity as a core value and by actively building greater diversity among students, faculty and staff.

Campus Life – Weaving the Success Web

“A quality education doesn’t have to cost a fortune.”

ENMU’s campus has the look and feel of a traditional university with the high-tech classrooms and laboratories that today’s students expect. Since 2000, ENMU has invested over 200 million USD in creating state-of-the-art classrooms, renovating buildings and athletic facilities and constructing new residence halls all while maintaining low cost of attendance.

Students can study the pre-history of North America at the University’s archeological site, Blackwater Draw, or forensic science in high-tech labs. ENMU students can enroll in accredited programs in programs of business, communicative disorders, music, nursing social work and by legacy programs in agriculture, art, theatre, modern languages, psychology, political science, pre-med, chemistry, history and more, each providing different opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience in the many labs and other experiential learning facilities. Free tutoring, mentoring programs and special assistance in challenging classes assure students that help is always available to boost a grade, complete a research paper, or study for a tough exam.

ENMU’s affordability and attention to student success has earned it numerous accolades and awards, and its graduates are quick to add their own endorsements. With the lowest tuition of New Mexico universities and the fifth lowest tuition in the southwestern region, ENMU takes seriously its mission to provide affordable, quality education and a success experience to its students. Online or in person, graduate or undergraduate, transfer, non-traditional, military or international, every Eastern student receives a quality educational experience.

Career Opportunities

Today’s students need degrees that prepare them for graduate study or the workforce. ENMU is highly focused on helping students achieve academic excellence, explore career opportunities and secure good jobs. The Student Academic Services team monitors the needs of online and on-campus students for tutoring, advising, scholarships and financial assistance, and applying for graduate school or for jobs. ENMU has collaborated with global job websites like ‘Glassdoor’ and ‘Indeed’ to provide ‘one-click’ access to employers to the ‘Buzzfile’ database to identify student job seekers.

Technology is at the epicenter of today’s world, and ENMU’s Office of Counseling and Career Services offers technology-aided assistance for current students and alumni. Utilizing a pool of licensed counselors alongside the unique one-on-one web-support, current students and alumni have access to professional assistance for career prep including resume assistance and practice interviews.

Presidential Multi-Faceted Excellence

Dr. Jeff Elwell joined Eastern New Mexico University as the 10th president on July 1, 2017. In April 2018, he was named chancellor of the three-campus ENMU System. Prior to coming to Eastern, Dr. Elwell served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (2012-17).

Committed to students’ persistence in college, Dr. Elwell immediately launched Greyhound Connection, a mentoring program designed to connect first-year students to University staff, services and other students. He and his wife, Edwina Gower (dubbed FLOE or “First Lady of Eastern”), are both mentors and regular attendees of Greyhound athletics and fine arts events on campus. During his time at ENMU, Dr. Elwell has substantially increased annual fundraising for the University. Under his leadership, ENMU has reduced tuition costs for out-of-state students and enhanced campus recruitment of international students.

Academic Programs

With over 90 degree program options, ENMU offers a wide range of academic programs. A few are showcased here.

Bachelor of Business Administration – Personal Financial Planning (PFP)

Ideally suited to students with an interest in financial planning, accounting, insurance, banking and investment, PFP is a new field with much demand in the area. Students completing the program are prepared to take the Certified Financial Planning® (CFP) examination. In the Business Administration Program, students study budgeting, estate planning, insurance and retirement planning, saving for education, investment and tax planning.

Master of Business Administration

This post-graduate program prepares students for responsible and senior managerial positions in an increasingly complex global business environment. Emphasis is placed on the development of managerial generalists rather than specialists, and requires study in all major functional areas of business. The program is designed to meet the needs of working adults, with online and evening classes available. An accounting emphasis is also available.


ENMU offers an online degree in mathematics for secondary education as well as an innovative degree in industrial mathematics and statistics, or more traditional B.S. or B.A. degrees in mathematics. Students have many opportunities to work as tutors, supplemental instructors, or participants in undergraduate research. Faculty research includes statistical studies, theoretical statistics, mathematical modeling, and the scholarship of teaching and learning mathematics.

Computer Science (CS)

The bachelor’s in Computer Science at ENMU enables students to pursue a lucrative career in computer science or pursue advanced study in graduate school. The program includes computer programming, algorithms, data structures, computer organization and theory of computation. Faculty research includes wireless networks, mathematical modeling and big data.

Electronics Engineering Technology (EET)

Students studying EET gain knowledge and experience in electronics technology and applications in computer systems design, research and development, manufacturing and testing.

Communicative Disorders (CDIS) – Bachelor of Science

The ENMU CDIS degree provides pre-professional instruction in the normal and disordered processes of speech, language and hearing to prepare the students for entrance into a master’s degree program.

Aviation Science

The bachelor’s in aviation science degree provides a wide range of courses in aviation directly related to the different aspects of the industry. The courses cover aviation history, flight theory, FAA regulations, aviation law, airport operations and contemporary aviation issues.

Emergency Management (EMGT)

EMGT is one of only four upper-division US Fire Academy FESHE programs west of the Mississippi and the only program in New Mexico at the level. The program is 100% online and asynchronous, which accommodates the busy schedules of fire and EMS providers.

Education Administration

This graduate program prepares licensed educators to become administrators at various levels in their school districts. The 21 hours of coursework can also be taken in combination with other courses in a master’s degree program. The capstone experience is a high-impact action learning project completed within the internship.

Alternative Licensure

This program prepares well-qualified individuals possessing a BA or BS in a non-education degree to become licensed teachers in New Mexico. The coursework is designed to meet specific New Mexico requirements in a short and focused sequence of classes.

Accolades and Awards – Celebrating the Moment

The consistent efforts of the ENMU administration have resulted in numerous awards and honors to the University over the years.

  • Successful reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and reaffirmation of accreditation for business, nursing, communicative disorders, music, education and social work programs with other accrediting agencies including National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly National League for Nursing), Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)
  • Regional recognition of ENMU’s music programs, with invited performances most recently at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and venues in Dublin, Ireland
  • Grant-funded programs in mentoring, STEM, and student success
  • National recognition of affordable online undergraduate and graduate programs

Alumni Column

Jake Sena completed his bachelor’s in marketing in 2004 and was listed by Albuquerque Business First’s 40 under 40 in 2018 for his contribution as a procurement manager. Jake described his time in ENMU as great! He says, “My professors were supportive and dedicated to student success. Dr. Dale Davis was my advisor, and he was always willing to give advice and guidance.” Jake explained that attending ENMU prepared him for his career by teaching him to interact with others on a professional level. “I had to be able to engage with professors and University staff effectively to accomplish my goals. Teamwork and working well with others was also important to being successful at ENMU, which is certainly a valuable skill I use in my career,” he adds.

Words of Trust

“I am grateful that ENMU is considerate of students like myself who have family and work obligations and are not able to attend the on-site classes. ENMU has been a life saver for me; just when I had lost all hope of ever completing college, ENMU became the light at the end of the tunnel.” –Selene Chavez, Business Administration Major

Thanchira Suriyamongkol chose to study biology at ENMU after a campus visit in 2016. She liked the small campus, which gave her the feeling of “home and family.” Intrigued by the diversity of animals in the High Plains, her master’s degree focused on under-studied wildlife species. –Thanchira Suriyamongkol, Biology Graduate Student

T’Kayla Baker chose ENMU because of the small class sizes. “I wanted to go to a school where the teachers know you by your first name because you have a better chance at succeeding, especially if you need extra help. That’s better than being in a class three times as big where nobody knows your name, and you have to look outside of class for help.” –T’Kayla Baker, Early Childhood Education Major, Track & Field Competitor

A Commitment to Student Success

ENMU’s history has been marked by many high points, steady enrollment growth and recognition, but none is more important than the success of each student in achieving her or his personal academic, social and personal goals. Faculty, staff and administration see this as their highest priority. In 1934, ENMU lit a lamp of learning. Today, the light from that lamp burns brightly in its engaged students, successful alumni and dedicated staff.

Recent Posts