Monthly Archives: April 2016

NMHU Rugby Team Reaches National Finals! Help Support Their Championship Quest!

vatosDear Highlands Alumni and Friends,

The NMHU Rugby Team, the Vatos, will defend their 2016 national title in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Rugby 7’s Finals in Philadelphia on June 2-5.

With historic graduating and winning rates of more than 75%, our team has seen great success, and is currently ranked in the top 25 teams nationally, regardless of division or organization. They have also been self-supporting throughout their 25 year history, raising their own funds to compete and travel as an NMHU club sport.

This spring the Vatos did their part to defend their title, going an amazing 4-1 at the Midwest Qualifier Tournament in New Orleans!

Now, these student athletes need your help to get to the big show in Philadelphia. Their many appreciative NMHU fans also need your help to cheer them on and add to the climate of quality and value at NMHU.

Please consider a gift to help support the Vatos’ travel expenses to Philadelphia. It will cost approximately $11,000 for our team of 15 student athletes to get to the national finals.

We know that our entire campus community – students, faculty, and staff – are behind the Vatos, and are excited to help them strive for a third national championship over 248 other NSCRO schools!

You can help with a gift of any size. Our campus community is already making gifts in support of this exciting opportunity for our dedicated student athletes. 

Donations can be sent to:

NMHU Foundation
Attn: Vatos
Kennedy Alumni Hall
Box 9000
Las Vegas, NM 87701

Gifts can also be made online by clicking the button below. Please indicate that the gift is for the Vatos in the ‘Designation’ field. Please consider making your gift by May 31st.



We hope you are as proud of our team as we are.
If you are near to our main campus, you can also show your NMHU pride by sporting Vatos gear, available soon in the Student Union Building Bookstore. 

  Go Vatos!!


Sam Minner, President
William Hayward, Coach
Earl Smith, Vatos President


HU-HIPs Campaign Reaches Goal for Endowment to Boost Student Success

The Highlands University Foundation met its goal to raise $250,000 in private money to increase high-impact practices that boost student success.

The New Mexico Higher Education Department will now provide a 2:1 match, creating a permanent $750,000 endowment.

“Highlands is known for actively engaging students in high-impact learning like undergraduate research and internships,” said said Highlands University President Sam Minner. “Our successful HIPs initiative will further enhance that reputation, and increase our students’ academic achievement.”

Other examples of high-impact practices include service learning, community-based projects, study abroad experiences, and first-year seminars and learning communities through linked courses like Highlands initiated for all freshman in fall 2015.

Minner said that often the most transformative learning happens outside the classroom and textbooks, when students’ knowledge is applied.

“When a student works side-by-side with a great professor in a research lab, a studio or some field setting, that experience is powerful and never forgotten. This endowment will help us provide the best possible faculty development opportunities which, in turn, will mean even more highly engaging learning opportunities for our students,” Minner said.

Vice President of Advancement Theresa Law said that the endowment is a permanent funding source, with Highlands receiving the interest earned each year on the $750,000 corpus, which is not touched.

“We’re very grateful to the Highlands Foundation for providing the lead donation to this match campaign,” Law said. “More than 100 donors participated in the campaign including alumni, faculty, staff, businesses, community groups and other friends of Highlands.”

Law said the without this broad-based support the fundraising goal would not have been met, and the rare state funding opportunity would have been lost.

“The university is extremely thankful for the donors’ generosity,” Law said.

Diana Marrs directs the new Center for Teaching Excellence at Highlands that was established fall semester 2015. She helped write the HU-HIPs proposal that was submitted to the New Mexico Higher Education Department for consideration.

“I am very excited that we will be able to increase best practices instruction at Highlands, and thereby make our students more successful,” Marrs said.

Marrs outlined some of the plans the Center for Teaching Excellence has for using the endowment for faculty development at Highlands:

  • Develop a faculty-to-faculty mentorship program where faculty experienced in conducting undergraduate research with their students share their knowledge with faculty who want to begin their own undergraduate research projects.
  • Provide professional development and support for professors teaching in the freshman learning communities and first-year seminars.
  • Work with the Department of English to increase writing assignments across all disciplines, which Marrs said helps students succeed in all their academic endeavors.
  • Bring in additional resources ranging from hiring outside consultants to purchasing books and webinars on high-impact practices, as well as send faculty to intensive HIPs trainings.
  • The university is looking for ways to expand study abroad and service opportunities for students. Faculty new to these efforts will receive training to learn how to lead these initiatives.