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NMMI chooses its new academic dean

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Orlando V. Griego has been chosen as the next academic dean and chief academic officer of the New Mexico Military Institute. (Submitted Photo)

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New Mexico Military Institute has chosen a New Mexico native, former U.S. Air Force officer and longtime higher education teacher and administrator as its next chief academic officer and academic dean.

Orlando V. Griego, now the dean of the College of Business and Health Administration at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, said the job will combine three of his loves: New Mexico, the military and academics.

“Now I get to put all three of those things together at NMMI,” Griego said. “It is like a dream job.”

Griego is planning to start the position on Aug. 1 and will hold the rank of colonel.

He is stepping into a position that has been held by Brig. Gen. Douglas Murray for almost 14 years. Murray announced his retirement in February and has indicated that, when his service at NMMI concludes at the end of June, he intends to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to be near family and serve on the board of directors of the Colorado Military Academy.

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“It is an honor to welcome Dr. Griego to the Institute,” said Maj. Gen. Jerry W. Grizzle, NMMI president and superintendent. “At this moment in education, he will take the training and skills that he honed and exuded as a student, educator and leader and share that wisdom with the cadets, faculty and staff. I can think of no individual better suited to take on this role. His passion for student engagement and success makes him a perfect fit for the role of NMMI’s dean.”

Griego has been the dean of the College of Business and Health Administration at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois, since September 2015. The school is a private Catholic liberal arts university that enrolls about 4,000 students a year in bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree programs, as well as certificate programs. The College of Business and Health Administration has about 800 students, 44 full-time and part-time faculty, and a budget of about $4 million.

“I find compelling the values of NMMI: duty, honor and achievement,” Griego said. “As part of such an organization, I hope to inspire and prepare students to higher achievement by helping create a premier educational institution where the focus is on their success.”

Griego said he and his family moved almost every year between New Mexico and California during his childhood, so that he attended 14 schools. He said education was transformative, introducing him to the chance for a better life.

“There were people who helped me get into a private school, much like NMMI, but it was a college prep school, and that sort of changed my life,” he said.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social services in 1982 from San Jose State University, a Master of Science degree in human resources management in 1988 from Golden Gate University and a doctoral degree with a human resource development specialization in 1997 from Colorado State University.

From 1985 to 1993, he served as a captain with the U.S. Air Force. His first duties were as an operations officer in Desert Storm and Desert Shield for about 11 months. He then worked in the U.S. and overseas to develop undergraduate courses to prepare students to become Air Force officers and to lead Air Force ROTC programs.

From 1993 to 1997, he worked as a counselor, instructor and training officer for various schools and organizations.

He then joined Colorado State University as an assistant professor, where he worked from 1997 to 1999.

He then joined Azusa Pacific University in California as a faculty member, department chair and associate dean with its School of Business Management, until joining the University of St. Francis. While at Azusa, he also served as a senior faculty member for the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, from 2003 to 2004. That organization provided executive leadership training for government and defense officers.

Griego has written or co-authored four books on data analysis and statistics, with 70 other scholarly works that have been published or presented at professional and academic conferences. His honors include a Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award from Azusa Pacific University and having been twice nominated for a Best Teacher award while at Colorado State University.

Grizzle praised Griego’s work as a teacher, a curriculum and degree program developer, and administrator who worked to improve enrollment and student outcomes.

“Having had responsibilities as an admissions counselor to professor to dean during (his) academic timeline,” Grizzle said, “Griego understands the importance to NMMI of enrollment, retention, educational and leadership outcomes assessment, and graduation, and strategies and actions to improve ‘the numbers.’”

Griego said he still has family in various parts of New Mexico, although no relatives live in the Roswell area. He is the father of two sons attending Pepperdine University, with one as an undergraduate and the other in law school.

Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.