Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Britt Hochhausler
PORTALES – An alumnus of Eastern New Mexico University was recently appointed to the New Mexico Supreme Court. Edward L. Chavez, a 1978 graduate of ENMU, was selected by Governor Bill Richardson to serve on the court.
Chavez graduated with a bachelor's of business administration degree. He is a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
Chavez entered ENMU at the age of 16. While at ENMU, he was a member and president of the Association to Help Our Race Advance (AHORA). Chavez also started a minority recruitment program. "ENMU President Warren Armstrong was very supportive of those efforts," Chavez said. He continued to help recruit after his graduation.
Chavez chose ENMU because his cousin, Vickie Gonzales, attended the University. Gonzales was ENMU Homecoming Queen in 1976.
"I didn't have a lot of college graduates in my family," Chavez said. "My parents didn't know a lot about college, but I knew that my cousin went to Eastern."
Chavez credits Professor Ross Sanchez with helping him succeed. Sanchez taught business administration and various law classes, and when Chavez graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law, he and Sanchez opened up a practice together near 2nd and Main Street in Portales.
"He (Sanchez) really took me under his wing," Chavez said. "Not only was he my professor in all law subjects at ENMU, he was my advisor and allowed me to work with him at his private law practice in Portales."
Chavez also thanks fellow student Rudy Chavez (no relation), a Portales native and Vietnam veteran, with inspiring him to go to law school.. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War and is also a lawyer. Chavez credits Rudy with inspiring him to go to law school.
"He told me he was going to law school, and I thought ‘I can do that!'", Chavez said.
There is a romantic side to this story: Chavez met his wife, Sandra Garcia, at ENMU. She is now the manager of patient administration at UNM. They have three children. Augustine, 24, is a first-year medical student at UNM; Divina, 22, graduated last December from UNM and is planning on going to law school; Armando, the youngest son, is a junior in high school.
"Wherever I go, I brag about Eastern," Chavez said. "I am very fond of the opportunity Eastern gave me."