NMSU History

Miller Gates

Hadley Hall

Goddard Hall

Memorial Tower

Hadley Hall Commencement 1913

New Mexico A&M in 1948

Milton Hall built in 1941 served as the student union building until 1968

Students painting the "A"

Alumni Homecoming Parade 1950s

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NMSU Alumni Relations

alumni@nmsufoundation.org
575-646-3616

Dove Hall, Room 227
1305 N. Horseshoe Drive
Las Cruces, NM 88003

NMSU History

New Mexico was still a territory when Las Cruces College opened the doors of its two-room building in the fall of 1888. The organizers of Las Cruces College—led by Hiram Hadley, a respected educator from Indiana—had even bigger plans in mind.

In 1889, the New Mexico territorial legislature authorized the creation of an agricultural college and experiment station in or near Las Cruces. The institution, which was designated as the land-grant college for New Mexico under the Morrill Act, was named the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.

Las Cruces College merged with N.M.A. & M.A., and the new school opened on January 21, 1890. That first semester there were 35 students at the college level and preparatory classes and six faculty members. Classes met in the old two-room building of Las Cruces College until suitable buildings could be put on the 220-acre campus three miles south of Las Cruces.

By 1960, the school had grown greatly, and its name was changed by state constitutional amendment to New Mexico State University.

Today New Mexico State University sits on a 900-acre campus and enrolls 16,428 students from all 50 states and from 71 nations. Regular faculty members number 694 and staff, 3,113.

Milton Hall

Before Milton Hall was home to the Journalism and Media Studies Department, the 80-year-old building was the heart of the campus. Built in the 1940s, Milton Hall was the student union at New Mexico State University before Corbett Student Union Center was built in 1968. Instead of classrooms and computer labs, it had a dining hall, a ballroom, bookstore, barber and beauty shop, outdoor swimming pool, and even a bowling alley.

Miller Field Gates

The Miller Field Gates, located on the west side of NMSU’s Las Cruces campus, were constructed in 1924. Miller Field was named after university registrar and volunteer football coach John Oliver Miller in 1908. The field was used for sporting events, such as football, baseball, and tennis, and other various events dating back to the 1890s. With the construction of new fields and stadiums elsewhere on campus, Miller Field was turned into a parking lot in the 1970s

Memorial Stadium & Memorial Tower

The original Memorial Stadium was dedicated on Sept. 16, 1950. Located just east of Hadley Hall, it was built on the site of Quesenberry Field. Memorial Stadium seated 6,800 and was a memorial to New Mexico A&M students who had served in the armed forces during World War I, World War II, and the Spanish-American War. Memorial Stadium was home to Aggie football for 28 seasons, until 1978, when the new Aggie Memorial Stadium opened. The only remnant of the original Memorial Stadium that remains today is Memorial Tower, which served as a pressbox for media on game days. The structure also housed the Aggie Alumni Offices in its lower levels. Today, Memorial Tower still stands where it serves as a memorial and campus landmark.

"A" Mountain

According to NMSU legend, in the early years of the university, students from the departments of agriculture and home economics as well as engineering would routinely place an “A” somewhere on campus as an April Fool’s joke. On March 31, 1920, students stood on the tower of Goddard Hall to survey and layout a giant letter “A” on Tortugas Mountain, three miles east of campus. Students formed a bucket brigade the next day – April 1 – to carry whitewash up the mountain and painted the “A.” A century later, NMSU students still maintain the enormous letter. During the Greek event “A Day of Service,” a delegate from each Greek chapter is taken by bus to the top of “A” Mountain to help repaint the “A” to keep it as bright as possible.

Goddard Hall

In March 1934, the engineering building was named Goddard Hall in honor of Ralph Goddard. A founder of the engineering school at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1919 he broadcasted the first signals from his hand-built radio station in a small shack on the college campus. It was one of the first radio broadcasts west of the Mississippi, and the first-ever in New Mexico. Over the next few years, KOB could claim several firsts, including one of the first play-by-play broadcasts of a college football game. By the late 1920s, KOB was the largest college radio station in the world and rightfully boasted of being the “voice of the Southwest,” reaching homes 1,000 miles away. On Dec. 31, 1929 as Goddard was preparing for the New Year’s Eve broadcast, his hand accidentally brushed an exciter, which was connected to the large direct current generators, sending 12,000 volts of electricity through his body and killing him instantly.