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Dr. Nwanne

By Michael BromkaDr. Andrew Nwanne, born in Nigeria yet American citizen since 1991, seems a current-day combination of Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and Nelson Mandela.He has the affability of Douglass.He shepherds NMSU-C as Booker T. did Tuskegee.And like Mandela with an accent, his voice merits listening.A college professor for decades, Dr. Nwanne is patient when asked to repeat or spell a word.Of his accent, he chuckles, “Yeah I know.There’s no doubt about it!”Geographic details of his hometown are significant.Andrew was born before being free from British colonial rule.He’s old enough to recall adults celebrating Nigeria’s independence in 1960.An ethnic Ibo (25% of Nigerians), he grew up in the Christian south, congregant of the Assembly of God, and scriptural beneficiary of Gideon Ministry —two groups in which he remains active.In 1967, Ibo separatists of southeastern Nigeria began an unsuccessful three-year effort to establish Biafra, apart from Nigeria.Andrew’stown was to the west.Separatists occupied his region.Happily, they were spared privations and famine for which Biafra was known.Andrew’s townsfolk felt sympathy for the separatists’ cause, and lamented their sufferings.But in their occupied region, they survived the conflict unscathed.Andrew’s great uncle Ben ranked high in Nigeria’s customs service.When Andrew finished high school, he began half a decade of training and service himself.His first job for Nigerian Customs was at Lagos Apapa Wharf, the largest seaport. There, he reviewed ship manifests and inspected cargo.Thereafter, he transferred to the country’s busiest airport.Seeing promise in his industrious nephew, great uncle Ben sponsored Andrew to attend college in the U.S.A.“Already I’d taken great interest in America,” says Dr. Nwanne.“In high school I studied American geography.We learned agricultural and industrial practices and output.We read about W.E.B. Du Bois and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Musically with Isaac Hayes, the Jackson 5, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin, America resounded.” Lest anyone dismiss NASA, Dr. Nwanne recalls the profoundly impressive effect its Apollo moon landing and exploration had around the world.“What other nation could attain such a technological marvel?”Andrew was warmly received in August of 1977 on the campus of Southern Utah State University in Cedar City.But cultural warmth did not assuage climactic frigidity during his first winter.“It was very cold for me!”Andrew transferred to Bishop College, an HBCU in Dallas.As a historically Black college, it afforded an chance to feel among the majority on campus.But Andrew grew aware of the surrounding community’s troubled rapport with police.“You must drive to get places.”When pulled over, he always showed deference and respect.Then came interactions in which an accent was beneficial.“In general, officers were good.”Andrew finished his BA in business at Bishop College and commenced studying for his MS in Business Administration and Human Relations at Amberton University, also in Dallas.Besides scholarship funding, he found adjunct work teaching business.Earning his masters, [ he got a green card, ] plus admission to U of N Texas in Denton.In 1986, Andrew became Dr. Nwanne with a Ph.D. in Administrative Leadership.For two years he taught business at Monroe Community College in Rochester NY —where he proudly swore an oath as a naturalized U.S.A. citizen.For 14 years in Little Rock AR, he taught, gained full professorship, and chaired his Dept of Business and Economics.Then in Fort Wayne IN, at the Indiana Institute of Technology, Dr. Nwanne mostly did administration as Associate Dean of the College of Business.His few teaching assignments were seminars for masters and doctoral candidates.At last he arrived at NMSU Carlsbad, where he has had much work plus an array of job titles —Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer and Provost, Interim President, and currently Associate Campus Director.(The bureaucratically ranking “Campus Director” is in Las Cruces.)As well off-campus, Dr. Nwanne has served locally on the governing boards ofCarlsbad Medical Center, Carlsbad First Assembly Church, Carlsbad Department of Development, and Eddy County Energy Advisory Board.Also, he belongs to Carlsbad Rotary Club, is president of Eddy County NAACP, and a local member also of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Gideon International Association.Clearly, Dr. Nwanne has not neglected community outreach.Do his on-campus duties focus on budgets and spreadsheets, or more on people?“Definitely on people!With faculty, staff, students, and community.That’s where the joy is.I learned this as an instructor.Offering one-on-one attention.You clarify, share a student’s discovery, mentor through troubles.Twenty years later there’s an e-mail of thanks.Yet you felt it back then.”Dr. Nwanne arrived here in 2014 as the Early College High School was starting up.“Highly beneficial, bringing ambitious young scholars onto campus to earn associates degrees early.We make their aspirations affordable.A benefit to community and campus.Carlsbad has been generous with mill levy support.”Numbers vary year by year.ECHS graduates 55-60 with associates degrees, while NMSU-C recently had 66 traditional associates graduates.Some among these train in Nursing and Allied Health.“One of our crown jewels, ranked #1 in nursing throughout the state.”After their first year, nursing students ace their LPN certification.All are encouraged to continue for both RN and associates by completing year two.“But if they prefer to take their LPN cert into the working world right away, that’s fine.”ECHS and traditional associates graduates who continue college most often attend NMSU main campus, ENMU in Portales, and Texas Tech in Lubbock.Perhaps 25% of NMSU-C students are non-traditional “returning” students, adults in their thirties, forties, and beyond.“It’s an area we’d like to expand.Our professors are energized by worldly experience, wisdom, and motivation that mature adults bring.”As both longtime citizen and himself an immigrant, Dr. Nwanne takes a broad view of immigration when asked. “Regardless of qualifications, they expand American economic development.Farm workers tend and harvest food for our supermarkets.Look at our motel industry.Who notices its most highly paid employee—the CEO?The lowly housekeeping staff ensure customer satisfaction and market perceptions.So, I value those workers and their contribution.”How can an immigrant succeed despite recent xenophobia?“Communication is vital.As people come to know you, their attitude will evolve.You’re doing them good, not harm.Let them know you, and get to know them.Your work builds their community, makes us all better off.Aside from young students and returning adults —will NMSU-C have relevance for greaterCarlsbad?“Absolutely!We need skills, learning, certification.Everyone wants to advance.Even fully employed, you seek to enhance and learn a new skill.Changes in the market render some jobs obsolete.So, you keep on building your knowledge base and skill set.“Remember black-&-white TV?Then color TV with an almost round screen, then later rectangle?Then who wanted that big ugly box, so flat screen arrived.Then TDS, cable, dish, and cut your price by streaming only what you want.Sotell me —do you wanna be that archaic black-&-white TV?If so, where’s the market for you?“We need lifelong education.Sometime you’ll seek it out.And our campus must be ready to accommodate your need.”

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