This year's Distinguished Faculty Emeriti recipients are Dr. Kenneth L. Hillier (posthumously), Dr. Mark Isham, Mr. Felipe Esteban Macias, Dr. Antony Oldknow, Dr. Leslie Paternoster and Dr. Robin A. Wells.

For more information, call Noelle Bartl at 575-562-2412.

Dr. Kenneth L. Hillier (Posthumously)

Dr. Kenneth L. Hillier dedicated 23 years of his life to teaching at ENMU, first as an assistant professor in business economics, later as a professor of finance. Dr. Hillier earned his bachelor’s degree with a double major in mathematics and business from Mayville State College in North Dakota.

During World War II, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served as a staff meteorologist from 1943-45. After serving his country, Dr. Hillier earned his master’s in Agricultural Economics from the University of Minnesota, and his Doctorate of Education from Oklahoma State University. He began his teaching career in North Dakota and at Kansas State College.

The husband and father of five came to ENMU in 1959 to teach finance courses as an assistant professor in Business and Economics. He wore many hats during his time on campus, as chair for the Department of Accounting, as a member on several faculty senate committees, and as a volunteer speaker to graduates of Air Force supervision classes. In 1966, he worked with Doug Stone to set up a 15-frame display of currency dating from colonial times, on loan from the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas. Dr. Hillier retired in 1981 as Professor Emeritus of Finance.

Dr. Mark Isham

Dr. Mark Isham knew from an early age that he wanted to be a teacher. Having always enjoyed school, he earned two bachelor’s degrees-a Bachelor of Arts in History from his hometown Lea College, and a Bachelor of Science in Social Studies Education from Bemidji State College. He started his career in education, teaching junior high Social Studies in Bemidji, Minnesota. He then earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Texas at Austin.

In 1982 Dr. Isham came to ENMU as an instructor of secondary education where he dedicated himself to teaching foundations of education, educational research methods, educational history, educational philosophies, politics of education and more for the next 27 years. Dr. Isham was a major contributor to the success of ENMU’s Department of Educational Studies. He coordinated the education foundations and secondary education curriculum areas, was the head writer for the 1998 and 2004 National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) reports, and completed a three-year term as the department’s graduate coordinator. He retired in 2009 as a Professor Emeritus of Education.

In retirement, Dr. Isham greatly enjoys reading and travels several times a year to visit family and old friends. His nephew recently hooked him on fly fishing, and he’s learned to tie his own flies.

Mr. Felipe Esteban Macias

In 1987, Mr. Felipe Esteban Macias joined the ENMU Theatre and Dance Department as an associate professor. He held a number of positions within the department, the most notable of which was as designer/technical director for productions in the mainstage and studio seasons. Mr. Macias earned his Bachelor of Arts from St. Edward’s University in Austin and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Mississippi. During his 25-year tenure at ENMU, he designed more than 140 productions, directed 27, and mentored over 75 student designs. He served as interim chair of the department for two years and chair for an additional six-and-a-half years.

Mr. Macias was active in campus and community committees, councils and professional associations including serving five years as vice president for the Design Division of the Southwest Theatre Film Association, and three years on the regional committee for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. ENMU honored Macias with the Spirit of Eastern Award in 2002, as well as the Presidential Award for Excellence in Advising in 2008.

After retiring from ENMU as Professor Emeritus of Theatre, Mr. Macias moved with his wife, Kate, to Oxford, Mississippi, where he is currently the technical director for the University of Mississippi Theatre Department. He and Kate enjoy working on productions together, as well as kayaking in the lake near their home. 

Dr. Antony Oldknow

Originally from Peterborough, England, Dr. Antony Oldknow emigrated to North America on his 25th birthday and spent two years teaching in Quebec before coming to America in the 1960’s. He earned four degrees, culminating in a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Dakota, and went on to a 50-year teaching career.

In 1987, Dr. Oldknow joined Eastern’s faculty as an assistant professor of English, where he taught many undergraduate and graduate courses, directed theses, and completed mid-level administrative functions. He was a member of multiple committees and served eight years as the languages and literature department chair. In 1991, he received the ENMU President’s Award for Excellence in Service for his active involvement in the faculty senate and the Collegiate Renewal initiative. After 25 years of dedicated service, Dr. Oldknow retired from ENMU as Professor Emeritus of English.

Dr. Oldknow is also a published poet, literary translator, painter, writer, and small-press publisher. To date, he has published over 250 titles. More than 100 different magazines in five countries have published his work. Currently, Dr. Oldknow is working on a book with ENMU Lecturer of Health and Physical Education Jane Liu, on the value of insights from China’s 5,000-year medical culture. He is also learning to play the piano again, and hopes to compose music.

Dr. Leslie Paternoster

Dr. Leslie Paternoster, one of the first of eight graduates in 1994 to complete ENMU’s BS in nursing program, returned to Eastern as the director of nursing in 2007. Dr. Paternoster took the lead in transforming the program to totally online, which increased enrollment dramatically. After earning her master’s in nursing education from West Texas A&M and her Doctorate of Education from NMSU, she gained professional experience at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and St. Joseph’s in Albuquerque, at Roosevelt General Hospital and Clovis Community College.

At Eastern, she served as Faculty Senate president for two years, and was a member of the Computer Committee and THE Committee that was established to increase collaboration between academics and student services. Dr. Paternoster was instrumental in the creation of the ENMU master’s degree in nursing program that began in 2013. For her visionary leadership, in 2014 she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Advising.

Since retiring in 2015 as Associate Professor Emerita of Nursing, Dr. Paternoster moved to Montana to be near family and enjoy time with her granddaughter. Not only has she fallen in love with the beautiful mountain view and river near her home, she has also fallen in love and married her longtime friend, Tom Harris.

Dr. Robin A. Wells

Dr. Robin A. Wells has dedicated 49 years to the field of education, and she has committed her life to promoting early childhood education and supporting families who have children with diverse abilities. Before joining Eastern’s faculty in 2004, Wells worked over 30 years as a public school speech/language pathologist. Several years spent in the schools and doing in-home support projects with children with autism and other learning differences helped prompt her to earn her doctoral degree in early childhood special education.

Dr. Wells feels a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives of future teachers. In 2009 she developed the ENMU master’s program for early childhood special education. She also gave over 300 hours of her time during KENW-TV fundraising efforts, and received the ENMU President’s Award for Excellence in Service. In 2011, the ENMU Foundation recognized her as Volunteer of the Year.

Dr. Wells is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Portales, ENMU Women, and the local B.E. chapter of P.E.O. International. She has given her time to a plethora of statewide organizations promoting early childhood education, and is an Academy Fellow for ZERO TO THREE, a national organization dedicated to ensuring that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. She retired from ENMU last May as an Associate Professor Emerita of Special Education.