reaches for moon, stars
road from Chamisal, New Mexico, to Albuquerque isnt very
far. It is a long road, however, from the rural back roads of
Northern New Mexico to the office held by Ricardo Maestas, President
Gordons executive affairs officer since 2000. Both roads
offer bumps and beauty, chance and change and opportunity on
always loved school, knowing as early as junior high that he
wanted to go to college. His father, Max, held blue collar jobs
and attended school only through the 5th grade. Bertha, his
mother, completed 11th grade. They valued education, but
they didnt push it, he says.
that education was the way out of menial jobs. I worked
hard in school, but I was a dreamer always looking up
at the moon, stars and space, he says.
would become reality for Maestas. He earned a bachelors
in Spanish and psychology and followed up with a masters
degree in Spanish, all from UNM.
for 9 ½ years in Illinois, followed by three years at
Ohio State where he was the director of Hispanic Affairs. He
went on to earn a PhD in higher and postsecondary education
at the University of Michigan.
worked in various capacities at UNM. He knew early on that he
wanted to work in central administration and he let Gordon in
on his desire.
was working on my PhD when I told him Id like to come
back and work as his assistant. Dr. Gordon told me to write
it down, submit a letter, he says.
came together for Maestas in Aug. 2000
affairs officer, Maestas has several areas of responsibility
including serving as liaison for the UNM Board of Regents. Additionally,
he assesses policy issues.
responds to correspondence and phone calls received by the presidents
he will represent the president at official functions. President
Gordon generally elects to attend himself. He is a hands-on
administrator and he has a hard time saying no, he says.
has responsibilities that gave rise to a self-imposed title,
Jack of All Trades. He handles whatever Gordon delegates
to him, addresses faculty issues and worked on the NCAA recertification,
and assisted in determining who sat on the committee. He also
aids in forming search committees.
get a great deal of satisfaction working with Dr. Gordon. Ive
made it my job to make his job easier, he says.
the best perks about working for the president, he says, is
getting your phone calls returned. People get things done
for you right away, he says.
hes learned is to watch what he says. I may be offering
my opinion or view and it will be misconstrued as representing
the president, he says.
is ready for the challenge of working for a new administration
I think it will be a smooth transition, he says.
remains true to his roots. He and wife Annette live in Albuquerques
South Valley and are making sure their children learn Spanish.
time to visit friends and family up north, in Chamisal, Peñasco,
Rodarte, Talpa and Taos. He finds comfort in the familiar northern
New Mexico Spanish dialect.
sitting at table with family or the executive cabinet, Maestas
is at home.