New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2002
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Dr. Thomas M. Gale
Provost and dean emeritus of Arts and Sciences at the New Mexico State University, Dr. Thomas M. Gale has built a distinguished career as a historian and Latin American specialist. He became dean of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences in 1971, after a prolific 17-year career as a professor and administrator at the University of Kansas. At NMSU, he guided the transformation of the College of Arts and Sciences into the largest of the university's six colleges-enrolling more students and generating more research dollars. He also made valuable contributions to the performing and visual arts programs, and humanities, such as establishing the Center for Latin American Studies.
He was a pioneer in encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration at a time when most colleges and departments operated independently of one another. He worked closely with the Colleges of Education at NMSU and the University of New Mexico to improve teacher education in the state.
Although he retired in 1991 and maintained ties to the university, in January 2001, the NMSU president asked Gale to return on an interim basis as the first-ever university provost while a national search was conducted to fill that position. While there for several months as interim provost, he provided leadership for the academic affairs of the entire institution, sharing his knowledge of the institution's history and its role as the state's land-grant university with the new administration.
Since 1991, Gale has organized and directed the Academy for Learning in Retirement in Southern New Mexico, chairing its first Board of Directors for three years. Currently, he chairs its curriculum committee. Administered through the NMSU Dona Ana Branch community College, the Academy is dedicated to providing intellectually stimulating and affordable noncredit programs for the region's senior citizens.
A former member of three statewide Round Tables on education in N.M., he is a member of the Teacher Education Accountability Council that monitors a large federal education grant to the state. In 1993, Gov. Bruce King named him to the N.M. Commission on Higher Education, the state's coordinating body for all public colleges and universities. He served as vice chair and Facilities Committee chair from 1997-99.
In April 2000, Gov. Gary Johnson appointed Gale to the Commission on Public Broadcasting. He chairs the Architectural Awards Committee, which recognizes outstanding contributions to architectural design and preservation in the community, and is a board member of the Las Cruces Public Schools Foundation.