Dr. Beverlee J. McClure, DHS Graduate, College President

 

 

Texas native, Dr. Beverlee J. McClure, is making her mark as one of the few women college presidents in the country. In 1999 she became the president of Clovis Community College and is still the only woman college president in the state of New Mexico.

Dr. McClure’s background makes her an even more impressive choice for a college president. She is a first-generation college student and was not considered “college material” by a high school teacher who told her that she shouldn’t be enrolled in physics because “secretaries and garbage people don’t need physics.” Dr. McClure never really intended to go to college, but received at $500 scholarship from the local Kiwanis Club in Denison Texas, where she graduated from high school. As a result she enrolled in Grayson Community College in Denison. “I decided if I was going to be a secretary, I’d at least be an interesting one,” McClure said. She received her Associate Degree as a paralegal from Grayson.

Next on the educational agenda came a BBA from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M Commerce), with a goal to eventually attend law school. She went to work for RJR Nabisco as an accountant and did some corporate training for them, which made her realize she wanted to teach. She returned to Grayson Community College and instructed computer classes. A short year later she made her way to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received her MBA.

With her MBA in hand she went on to teach some specialized computer classes at West Arkansas Community College in Fort Smith. She became the Assistant Vice President for Student Services at age twenty-seven. She credits much of her success from that time forward to having had the opportunity to work for a woman who became her mentor. “Many times women have the education they need, but don’t have the ‘polish’ it takes to be successful. I had a wonderful opportunity. For five years she ‘polished’ me,” smiled McClure.

Beverlee was always encouraged by her college professors and eventually received her Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas in Austin. Her next job in higher education was as provost at St. John’s River Community College in St. Augustine, Florida. She had been serving there for two years when she received a phone call from the retiring president of Clovis Community College, recruiting her to come to Clovis. She accepted that position in 1999, became the youngest college president in the nation. “I will always give credit to the community college for giving me the opportunities which changed the direction of my life. I love being able to be a part of providing that opportunity for others,” she said.

“Clovis is a very conservative area, but they were willing to take a chance on a young female first president,” she continued. She is now serving under her second contract and is currently a finalist for the position of New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education, a gubernatorial appointment. She has served on the New Mexico State board governing K-12, appointed by Governor Bill Richardson. She also serves on the Governor’s Task Force for Higher Education. The young Dr. McClure has a true passion for education and says she wants to serve where she can find the best fit; for now, that right fit is at Clovis Community College.

Her personal life blends smoothly into her busy work life. “I have not been able to achieve balance, so I try to blend the two,” she said. She enjoys the travel related to her work and likes to golf, as it also works for her professionally. She is a guest lecturer for the program from which she graduated at the University of Texas and always tells women in her audiences to learn to play golf. “While the women are at the mall shopping, the guys are on the golf course making the deals,” she cautions. She will play in a legislative golf tournament at the end of the month and it will be positive for her job, but she will also enjoy it personally.

She is also an avid art collector and loves being in New Mexico because of that avocation. She says she can’t actually do the painting, but she buy the paintings and that helps her express her creative side.

Look for great things in the future from Texas native turned New Mexico advocate, Dr. Beverlee McClure.

By Mariwyn McPherson Webb

 

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