When Laura Conniff graduated with a bachelor of business administration in 1974, she had no idea she would return to her alma mater and serve it for more than 10 years.
Conniff had raised a family and was operating a realty business, two farms and serving on various professional and community boards when she found herself appointed to the Board of Regents and awaiting confirmation in the state senate in 2001.
As she waited, Conniff thought serving as a regent would be an excellent way to get to know more about different aspects of the university. During her time on the board she learned about different types of research and academic, athletic and community programs taking place at NMSU. The more Conniff learned, the more she realized she was really just scratching the surface and was impressed by the breadth of activity taking place around the Aggie campuses.
NMSU has grown immensely and I didnt realize the caliber or the amount of research that was taking place here, Conniff says. There are a lot of incredible faculty members doing really important work.
Conniff said her time as a regent was intriguing, interesting, educational and fun. One aspect of service she found surprising was how much she came to enjoy the graduation ceremonies.
Its the culmination of all the students hard work coming to fruition in the form of a degree, she says. You also get to see the graduates and their families sharing a happy and important moment; it was great to be a part of that.
Now that her time on the board has ended, Conniff plans to dedicate more time to her family, her work at Mathers Realty, Leveldale Farms and Conniff F Cross Farm, and will continue serving on the board of First American Bank.
Her formal association with the university will also continue since she still serves as co-chair of NMSU Aggies are Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Conniff said she remains impressed by the various activities at NMSU and the richness the campuses bring to local areas.
I would advocate for others to support the university, not only with funds, but with time and energy, Conniff says. It is very rewarding and makes a difference in students lives and the lives of our communities.