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New Mexico State University

A Brief History

Hiram Hadley

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 in 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.

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