Honorary Lifetime Award, Dr. James Miller Sr. (posthumously) and Dr. James Miller Jr.
For 50 years, Dr. James Miller, Sr. was one of the foremost educational leaders in New Mexico public schools and community colleges. He served as superintendent or board consultant in nearly 40 of New Mexico’s 89 districts, taught, and was an administrator or school board consultant in Ojo Caliente, Bloomfield, Gadsden, Santa Fe, Grants, Alamogordo, Roswell and many others. He moved to Los Alamos in 1954 and spent the remainder of his career and life advancing the cause of education, particularly for women and Hispanics. Dr. Miller, Sr. founded the Santa Fe Community College in 1983 and the Rio Rancho Public schools in 1994. In 1996, he was also instrumental in establishing the Mimbres Valley Learning Center at Western New Mexico University-Deming. Many of today’s New Mexico teachers, administrators and support staff owe their careers to Miller’s encouragement and example. He was also a role model and mentor for his own children, exemplifying the virtues of integrity, honor and purpose. Dr. James Miller, Jr. served as a teacher in Albuquerque, for the Department of Defense and in Farmington. He was later the superintendent of schools in Farmington and Carrizozo. He has demonstrated his commitment to higher education by serving as the founding director of ENMU’s Ruidoso Instruction Center, securing grants, donations of property and materials, and acquisition of other financial support. He was involved in the hiring and professional development of excellent faculty and staff, the expansion of academic programs, and extensive outreach to the community. He worked diligently to position the center for branch campus status (achieved in 2005) through partnerships with area educators, community leaders and various civic organizations. Since his retirement, Dr. Miller, Jr. has remained active in Lincoln County and Mescalero, in economic development, with business energy efficiency programs, renewable energy project development, rural water systems and as a community volunteer. He has also been instrumental in securing a Memorandum of Understanding between ENMU and the Mescalero Apache Tribe.
Outstanding Alumni, Dr. Glenda Balas
Dr. Glenda Brown Balas (MBA 89, BS 75) is a nationally recognized educator in higher education, known for her outstanding scholarship in mass communication and her bold commitment to broadening educational opportunities for underrepresented communities. Dr. Balas, a Portales native, received her Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Iowa in 1999. Since 2013, she has served as the dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of North Texas at Dallas. In June of 2016, she was named their interim provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs.
From 2010-13, Dr. Balas chaired the Communications and Journalism Department at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Previously, from 2008-10, she was chair of the Mass Communications Department at Sam Houston State University in Texas, faculty at DePauw University in Indiana, and teaching assistant at the University of Iowa.
Before her 25-year career in higher education, Dr. Balas had an already impressive media industry career. For seven years she worked for ENMU’s own KENW-TV, first as the director of public information from 1974-76, then as their director of programming from 1976-79, and finally from 1979-81 as their director of development. As an ENMU student, she gained experience as editor in chief of the campus newspaper The Chase from 1972-73 and The Silver Pack yearbook in 1974. Dr. Balas graduated from Portales High School in 1967. Her prominent farming family pioneered the cultivation, genetic improvement, promotion and marketing of Valencia peanuts in Roosevelt County, New Mexico.
Outstanding Alumni, Hossein Zamanian
Hossein Zamanian (MBA 74) first traveled to Portales from his home in Iran to attend ENMU for the low-cost tuition and the excellent reputation of the College of Business. Portales offered Hossein the safety of a small town to not only adjust to America and study, but also as a place to begin to learn English.
Hossein worked hard, earning his degree in 18 months before going on to earn his doctorate in education from East Texas State (now known as Texas A&M-Commerce). He married his wife Marzi in Iran and the two returned to the United States in 1979. Hossein taught for nine years at Southwest Christian College in Terrell, Texas, but once the couple’s family began to grow, his vision changed.
Over the next two years, he studied diligently for the CPA exam and, shortly thereafter, began work as a junior accountant for a national firm. After an unexpected job loss, Hossein worked day after day to try and build his own clientele. His CPA firm grew, and for the next two years Hossein conducted business out of his home for 20 clients. Today, his firm has 10 accountants and more than 500 clients.
In addition to his success as a CPA, in the 1980s Hossein designed, marketed and manufactured a booming jewelry line that sold to major department stores including Nordstrom. He also designed and patented two products. One invention is a kabob maker manufactured and sold in both Iran and in America at World Market stores nationwide. The other, a uniquely designed computer stand base with wheels, manufactured in Dallas, is sold online and via Fry’s Electronics. His most recent patent pending involves an innovative education software for bilingual reading and learning to read music, which is currently being rolled out at Montessori schools.
Hossein’s advice to current students and young alumni is: “Take the setbacks. Learn from them and make it big. As long as you have your burning desire, one must continue to dream ... Dream big. Work hard. Work smart.”
For More Information
ENMU Station 8
1500 S Ave K
Portales, NM 88130