- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

SOCORRO, N.M. (AP) - The head of a Nevada-based research institute has been named the new president of New Mexico Tech.

The school’s Board of Regents announced Thursday that Dr. Stephen Wells has been chosen to lead the Socorro-based university that has about 2,200 students and is getting a five-year contract.

New Mexico Tech was founded in 1889 as the New Mexico School of Mines. It is the state’s smallest research institution.

Wells will succeed Dr. Daniel Lopez, who is retiring June 30 after 23 years as New Mexico Tech’s president.

Wells has been president of the Desert Research Institute, a research institution with 560 employees in the Nevada System of Higher Education.

He was a professor with the University of New Mexico’s geology department from 1976-91 and also headed the department from 1989-91.

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