first lady praises ‘great people’
Gordon at University House. Photo by Brian Lucero.
mind is on packing boxes this July, but her heart is fixed on
UNM. A three-time alumna departing a four-year view from the
top, she speaks fondly of her years amongst the adobes.
not great places, programs or even presidential prestige that
she will miss most its great people.
nicest thing about having been first lady was the opportunity
to interact with so many special people, she says.
begins a tribute to a litany of great students,
staff and faculty, but soon realizes there is no way to capture
all who touched her familys life.
of the fun things about being [at the presidential level] is
that you get a chance to meet with people you wouldnt
otherwise, both on campus and in the community, she says.
You cant be part of this for four years and not
have it change you. I came to appreciate how complicated the
issues in higher education are and the many connections UNM
has in the city, state and country. You get to see the scope.
not at the helm, Gordon was in close proximity,
she says, and in so, is wiser for the experience. Time in office
taught the couple perspective and how not to get caught up in
a moment good or bad.
have to have faith in the principles and people that guide you.
You learn that if you keep pushing forward things are going
to be okay, she says. UNM has good problem solvers
and when you are in a big place there are always problems to
in close proximity are Kate, 12, and Jonathan, 9.
Not since President William E. Davis (1975-82), father of five-year-old
twins at the time of his inauguration, has the first family
included young children. Parenting while running a campus is
often done in a fishbowl and Gordon admits it had its trade
fans all, the bunch hosted and frequented hundreds of special
events, a fair share Lobo games. Jon frequently took a seat
on the sidelines with chums former Governor Bruce King and Athletic
Director Rudy Davalos.
both kids are outgoing types who like to meet people. Not only
was it not a problem for them, it was like, Hey, whens
the next reception? Gordon says.
leads back to warm thoughts about the UNM staff who helped her
to pull those gatherings off, typically without a hitch.
impossible to thank and say goodbye to everybody who does their
part to make this place great, she says. And Ill
be back. I have to see the SUB when its done.