College Enrichment Program Founder Honored with Tree Planting

March 11, 2016 - Dorene DiNaro

Dan Chavez InvitationDr. Dan Chavez, founder and first director of the College Enrichment Program at UNM will be honored on Friday, March 18 at noon during a tree planting ceremony in the Mesa Vista Hall Northwest Courtyard. 

Chavez is credited with bringing this unique program specializing in recruitment, retention and placement for low-income and minority New Mexico high school graduates, to UNM in 1970.  He served as the CEP director until 1990. 

During his tenure, CEP recruited over 3,000 students to the University and enhanced their retention in college through a pre-college orientation program, counseling, tutoring, and help in securing employment or admission to graduate and professional degree programs. CEP was recognized as an “exemplary program for college-bound minority students” by the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) in 1988; and in 1990 honored as “one of the better recruitment and retention systems of its kind in the country” by the National Center for Student Recruitment.

Thanks to its solid foundation, the Program still exists today and continues its commitment to creating opportunities and providing support to ensure student success in college and beyond.

Andrew Gonzalez, director of the UNM College Enrichment and Outreach programs, the umbrella department for CEP, credits much of his success to the College Enrichment Program, and more specifically to Chavez.

Gonzalez remembers meeting Chavez and the rest of the CEP staff as a freshman and says that even on his rough days when he wanted call it quits and go home, Chavez assured him that everything would be all right and he would be successful. 

 “I came to the University of New Mexico as a first generation student not knowing what to expect of college life,” he says.  “Without the help of CEP staff and specifically Dr. Chavez, I would not be the person that I am today.”

Chavez, his wife and son plan to attend the ceremony, and the UNM community is invited to attend.  For more information on CEP please visit their website or call 277-5321.