After 12 years of leading the Office of Alumni Affairs, Jim Mandarino retired this March.

“This has truly been a wonderful journey,” Mandarino said. “Overall it’s been so rewarding.”

Mandarino graduated from Highlands in 1966 and planned to continue on to graduate school but was drafted into the military. He spent most of his military service in Germany, with a short stint in Vietnam before being discharged.

He returned to New Mexico to help his ailing parents and became active in the newly formed Highlands Alumni Association, serving as president for four years.

In 2003, the university hired him as the director of Alumni Affairs.

“We know Jim will be missed by many alumni,” said Will Wootton, New Mexico Highlands’ vice president for advancement. “But this will be an opportunity to start an exciting new chapter in the Office of Alumni Affairs.”

Mandarino will continue to work part-time as director for New Mexico Highlands’ newest gallery space, which he helped start, at Kennedy Alumni Hall. The gallery space is home to the Dr. Robert Bell Permanent Collection of Art and the Dr. George Talbot Print Study Room. This past year, Kennedy Hall featured two well-attended exhibitions: New Mexico Painters, featuring 50 artists, and an Eli Levin solo show.

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