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
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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