Faces of CNM: Eugene Padilla

After 37 years in higher education, Eugene is preparing to retire from his position as CNM’s Vice President of Student Services
November 17, 2020

CNM Vice President of Student Services Eugene Padilla has seen a lot of changes at CNM since he first came to the college in 1995. He was here when it went from TVI to CNM, he saw Main Campus’s first expansion south of Coal Ave., he’s worked under four different presidents, and still remembers moving into the Student Services Center when it was first built. But his strongest, most rewarding CNM memories are all about serving students. 

“It’s always been in my blood to provide service and I’m really proud of the work we’ve done,” he says. 

Eugene, who will officially retire at the end of January, started in the Financial Aid department at UNM and came to CNM as the Assistant Director of Financial Aid. Within a year, he was appointed Interim Director of Financial Aid. Almost immediately, he helped lead a then-groundbreaking effort by supporting Financial Aid’s transition to the Banner technology system, which helped them automate and streamline the department in important ways that better served students. 

“The whole department really pulled together and developed a process where things could get done more efficiently and where students benefited,” he says. 

From Financial Aid, Eugene went on to become the Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management, and then transitioned to his current job Vice President of Student Services in 2018.  As the VP of Student Services, he’s overseen Financial Aid, Enrollment Services, the Dean of Students, Connect Services, the Veterans Resource Center, TRIO, the Disability Resource Center, Parking, and Security. It’s been a lot of work, but Eugene says he sees himself as part of a larger system and has been happy to not only run, but improve his departments.

More specifically he’s always been aware that Student Services is directly tied to Academic Affairs and has been thankful to work with Vice President Sydney Gunthorpe. The more that Student Services runs its departments smoothly, the better chance students have to succeed in the classroom. 

“If we can handle our side, then that’s one less thing students need to worry about so they can study and graduate,” he says. 

One thing he’ll miss most is watching students go from enrollment to graduation. He always loved the graduation ceremonies because he and his team were able to see students they have assisted walk across the stage to a new career and a new life.

He’s proud of how the college has pivoted during his time to ensure students have the support they need and the classes necessary to move them forward. He’s excited to see how CNM Ingenuity evolves and he knows that the current and future leadership teams will ensure that CNM continues to be an innovative college that keeps “Changing Lives, Building Community.”

“CNM would not be in the position it’s in if it weren’t for the President and other VPs,” he says. “And I have no doubt that they’ll continue to do great things.” 

As for his retirement plans, Eugene says service will still be an important part. He’s always been involved in his church, and wants to spend more time with his kids and grandkids. 

“Sometimes people ask, ‘Have you accomplished everything you wanted?’ And I always respond that in my life, my service will never be finished,” he says.