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NMJC Outstanding Faculty of the Year

NMJC Outstanding Faculty of the Year photo
(L-R) Patty Emmerich and Ruth Wong

5/6/2015 1:08:17 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

New Mexico Junior College is proud to announce Dr. Patty Emmerich, Professor of Government and History, and Ruth Wong, Professor of Education and Transitional Studies, as the Outstanding Faculty for 2014-2015.  These two were chosen by NMJC faculty, staff and students, and will be recognized during the NMJC Commencement Ceremony May 8. 

Patty Emmerich is originally from the Midwest, growing up on a farm, then moving to Holden, Missouri.  She received a Bachelor of Science in Education in Social Studies and a Master of Arts in History, both from the University of Central Missouri.  She obtained a Ph.D. in History from Kansas State University.

Emmerich has taught for 38 years; the last 16 years at New Mexico Junior College.  “I have always enjoyed school,” says Emmerich.  “I was fortunate to have five wonderful teachers along the educational path that I took.  Each one gave me needed support along the way.”

Emmerich is known for her impersonations of famous people like Martha Washington, Mary Todd Lincoln and Jackie Kennedy Onassis for Women’s History Month.  “If I can help students see the importance and significance of history and government, it has been a good day,” says Emmerich. She takes students into the field to look for artifacts in her Anthropology class, produces events for the college’s Constitution Day and Women’s History Month, and was very involved in initiating a scholarship fund and memorial rose garden in memory of her late colleague Joe Garcia. 

“Dr. E, as she is so fondly called by her students, is an outstanding teacher – passionate about history and government with her number one concern being her students’ success,” says Kelly Holladay, Dean of Business, Math and Sciences at NMJC.  “She literally brings history to life, and has made an impression on hundreds and hundreds of students over the years!  She is an integral part of the success of NMJC.”

Ruth Wong has been with New Mexico Junior College for eight years and says, “I am so honored to receive this prestigious award.” Wong is initially from Peoria, Illinois, but has lived in several places, mostly in Hong Kong with her husband Yau-Sun Wong (professor of music at NMJC). She received her Bachelor's degree in elementary education from Illinois State University, then obtained her Graduate Certificate in Gifted Education from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.  Her Master's degree in Education was earned at the University of the Southwest in Hobbs.  Currently, Wong is half-way through her doctorate degree in education from Liberty University in Lynchberg, Virginia.

“I have always wanted to teach,” says Wong.  “I began my career as an elementary school teacher, and now I have the privilege of teaching future teachers.  I also love helping college students who need additional reading skills through our transitional studies program.”

“Ruth is a true example of an outstanding teacher,” says Dianne Marquez, Dean of Arts and Humanities. “She challenges students to reach beyond their potential. When a student is struggling, Ruth also struggles until she can find a way to help that student become successful.  She is always searching and implementing new, creative ways to engage her students in the learning process.”

Wong helped design the Alternative Licensure Program at New Mexico Junior College – a program that supplies teachers for many communities in New Mexico, including Lea County.  Says Marquez, “Her involvement, caring nature, and expertise are the foundation for the success of the program.”  When Wong is not working with her classes or students, she is busy playing flute in the NMJC Community Band, singing in the NMJC Community Chorale and assisting her husband to promote the band and chorale by organizing various activities.

Ruth Wong will receive the Elliott and Waldron Title Faculty of the Year Award, and Patty Emmerich will be given the Rotarian John Shepherd Faculty of the Year Award. The awards are equal in criteria and selection, with the two organizations sponsoring the $1,000 awards over several years. 

“We are extremely proud of all our professors, and especially these two who have been honored for their excellence,” states Dr. Dennis Atherton, Vice President for Instruction at NMJC.

For more information, contact Susan Fine at 575-492-2781 or

New Mexico Junior College is a comprehensive community college promoting success through learning.

[Photos:  Dr. Patty Emmerich and Professor Ruth Wong.]

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