By David Giuliani
Las Vegas Optic
Highlands University has received 24 suggestions for names for the new dorms and the student union building under construction.
A few months ago, the regents sought suggestions from the public for the naming of the new buildings. That’s in contrast to past practice, where only insiders were involved.
The university received 19 suggestions for naming the buildings after people, both alive and deceased, as well five other suggestions not associated with people.
Earlier this year, Regent Jesus Lopez, a Las Vegas attorney, suggested several names for the buildings. Among them were Frank Angel and John Aragon, former Highlands presidents. As Highlands’ leader, Angel was the nation’s first Hispanic to serve as the president of a four-year university.
Lopez also suggested Emiteria “Matie” Viles, who started a scholarship program that benefitted more than 800 Highlands students, and Ken and Sue Crimmin, whose scholarship program helped nearly 200 students.
At a recent Board of Regents meeting, Lopez said his suggestions were “not set in stone.”
“I wanted to broach this subject. My recommendations are no more lofty than anyone else’s,” the regent said. “I wanted to cause a little conversation. I’ve been a little disappointed.”
He said he had particularly wished that members of the Viles scholarship foundation board had shown up to the board meeting.
Highlands faculty member Joe McCaffrey was the only person to speak during public input on naming of the buildings. He suggested Frank Springer, who was considered one of New Mexico’s premier scholars in Highlands’ early years; Edgar Lee Hewitt, the university’s first president; and Robert Bell and Stirling Puck, fine arts donors.
Regents Chairman Leveo Sanchez said he wished more people had attended.
“People should have been here. Highlands is Las Vegas and Las Vegas is Highlands.”
Regent Nancy Long suggested a night meeting, so more residents could have a chance to give their feedback on the names.
The regents agreed to take up the issue at a later meeting.