“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved colleague,” Western State Colorado University President Jay Helman says. “Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales made a significant impact here at Western and she will be missed.”
Dr.Manzanares-Gonzales had been away from campus for several months undergoing treatment for thoracic cancer. She passed away on Saturday at her family home in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales oversaw Western’s academic programs and faculty, as well as library services, the registrar and all academic-support functions on campus. She had more than 21 years experience in higher education. Before her time at Western, she was a professor and dean of the School of Education at Western New Mexico University, where she was responsible for 12 undergraduate and seven graduate programs across multiple campuses for more than six years.
Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales began her full-time career in higher education in 1994 at New Mexico Highlands University as an assistant and associate professor of educational leadership. She also held various administrative roles at NMHU, including director of Educational Outreach Services, director of Continuing and Professional Education and Community Programs and graduate coordinator for the School of Education and Educational Leadership program. While at NMHU, Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales started the Distance Education program and expanded the university’s instructional programming to school districts and community colleges, as well as state and non-profit agencies.
As a research scholar, Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales published articles, and presented nationally and internationally at conferences and forums on educational leadership, diversity issues and accreditation. Some of her most recent research focused on international exchange and academic programs between neighboring countries. Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales held three degrees from NMHU: B.A. in elementary education with a minor in geology; M.A. in elementary education – reading emphasis; and M.A. in educational administration. She also earned an Ed.D. in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University.