New Mexico State University
New Mexico was still a territory when Las Cruces College, the forerunner to New Mexico State University, opened in a two-room adobe building in the fall of 1888. Its organizers, led by Indiana educator Hiram Hadley, had bigger things in mind, but they could not have imagined the NMSU of today-a major research university with a 900-acre main campus and nearly 15,000 students. The early history of this land-grant institution reflects the color and flavor of its Western heritage. The first commencement would have taken place in 1883 but the college's one and only senior, Sam Steel, was fatally shot, an innocent bystander in a hold-up. The first graduating class in 1884 included Fabian Garcia, a pioneer chile breeder who put the school on the map with the release of the nation's first commercial variety in 1921.
Dean Ralph W. Goddard also brought the college national prominence when he developed the most powerful college radio station in the world. Tragically, he was electrocuted while working at the station on New Year's Eve in 1928.
The campus itself became part of Southwestern history: famed architect Henry Trost drew up the original campus plan and designed several of the early college buildings, many sill standing today around the commons area called the Horseshoe.
In the 1930s, the Great Depression left its mark on the institution that became known as the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, and U.S. involvement in World War II had an even greater impact. Even the college's president, Hugh M. Milton, was called into active duty, eventually attaining the rank of general.
The hallmark of the post-war years was growth-in enrollment, facilities, research and scholarship. Famed astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the planet Pluto, came to the college in 1955 and began a research program that today ranks among the nation's best.
In 1960, a constitutional amendment changed the college name to reflect the transition from what some had labeled a "cow college" to a comprehensive land-grant institution, New Mexico State University. That stature was boosted in 1987 when the university was classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Research I university, one of only 88 in the country, based on levels of federal research support and numbers of doctoral degrees awarded. Today, research expenditures exceed $100 million a year in widely recognized areas of expertise such as arid lands and desert ecology studies; bridge inspection and safety training; bilingual special education; artificial intelligence; and optics, photonics, and microlaser development. Its degree programs are extensive: 74 bachelor's, 51 master's, 24 doctorates, and four specialists in education. The programs are offered by six colleges: Agriculture and Home Economics; Arts and Sciences; Business Administration and Economics; Education; Engineering, and Health and Social Services.
Starting with that first chile variety, the university has continued to mark milestones. Professor Robert Golden was the first to discover naturally occurring antimatter. Playwright-in-residence Mark Medoff won a Tony Award in 1980 for his play "Children of a Lesser God," later made into a movie. NMSU operates one of the world's largest university-owned telescopes, at a site in the nearby Sacramento Mountains, for a consortium of universities including the University of Chicago, Princeton and others. Under a NASA contract, the Physical Science Laboratory manages the world's largest scientific balloon research program, launching probes from sites as remote as Antarctica and Greenland.
NMSU is unique for another reason, too. It is the only land-grant institution in the Carnegie top-level ranking that is also designated Hispanic- and minority-serving by the federal government.
Perhaps the most important milestone, however, was the report of the team reviewing NMSU for reaccredidation in 1998. Team members said they were impressed by the rich diversity of the student body, by the important role that students play in university decision-making, and by the fact that students described their professors as "inspirational mentors."
Dona Ana Community College
When Dona Ana Branch Community College opened its doors 28 years ago it served 200 students through six programs. Today, over 4,000 students are enrolled in the 25 programs offered in Business and Information Technology, Health and Public Services and Technical Studies. General education courses are also provided. Through its educational and career-building programs, DABCC is positioning itself to become southern New Mexico's one-stop, workforce-development center.This year, expanded and new workforce-development initiatives were put into place resulting already in Las Cruces' first truck-driving academy and the use of a mobile technology vehicle to provide on-site skill training for south-valley businesses. Other innovative educational-delivery plans are under way. In order to meet the demands of the local job market, many business and community leaders serve on DABCC's program advisory boards. Subsequently, DABCC programs are adapted to the demands of the local job market. A graduate placement rate of more than 90 percent attests to the college's market driven offerings. The Small Business Development Center offers free counseling for those starting up or maintaining their own businesses.
In addition, ten thousand residents are served in noncredit classes through the Academy for Learning in Retirement, Community Education and Customized Training. And, in spite of the enormous increases in size and enrollment, the community college still abides by the initial theme that made it a reality so long ago, that of accessibility through an open-door policy and a "no-barriers" philosophy in a friendly atmosphere. An emphasis on student success is aided through a variety of support services.
Along with DACC's main location at 3400 S. Espina St., satellite locations serve outlying areas of the county at White Sands Missile Range, Sunland Park and Anthony. For further information about programs, services and policies, contact DACC at 527-7500.
Mesilla Valley Christian Schools
As a private, college preparatory Christian school, Mesilla Valley Christian Schools is among the leaders in private Christian school education in the state of New Mexico. MVCS was the third school in the Rocky Mountain Region to be accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and had the first accredited high school program in the six-state region. It is also recognized as accredited by the New Mexico State Department of Education.
Mesilla Valley Christian Schools offers a staunch college preparatory program which features courses in physics, C++ computer programming, two foreign languages (one of which is a four year program) and AP courses in calculus, English literature and British literature. We require that each graduate earn additional credits beyond the state requirements at the high school level. We also offer a competitive athletics program and are a member of the New Mexico Athletic Association (NMAA) in the IÃA Division. Our program includes volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and golf.
At the elementary level, the curriculum is also biblically based with a heavy emphasis on phonics. Typical SAT (Stanford Achievement Test) scores for our students in the KÃ12 program place our students 2Ã3 years ahead of national average, an achievement which we feel is most commendable for a school of our size (455 students in grades PÃ12).
A final standout feature of MVCS is that, as a Christian school, we require each student to take a course in Bible each day and attend weekly chapel services for his/her age group. We believe that our students are capable of meeting not only the highest academic standards, but the highest character standards as well-all of which makes our students more successful in their college careers, as citizens of our great nation.
Other Education Institutions located in Las Cruces include:
- Troy State University 505-678-6052
- Immaculate Heart Christian Schools 505-524-8563
- Holy Cross Catholic School 505-526-2517
- Business Skills Institute 505-526-5579
- Alpha School For Young Children 505-527-2203
- University of Phoenix 505-589-0116
- Webster University 505-589-1566
In addition, there is also the Academy of Real Estate, H&R Block, International Truck Driving School, Mesilla Valley School of Therapeutics, NM Job Corps, St. Luke's Episcopal School and the Olympian University of Cosmetology.