New Mexico State University is a land-grant research university and NASA space Grant College
It was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College. It became the first place of higher learning in New Mexico, which was still a US territory at the time.
Situated in Las Cruces, or ‘The City of the Crosses’ in the Mesilla Valley, the university’s main 900-acre campus is located close to major geographical landmarks that include the Organ mountains and the White Sands National Monument, the world’s largest dune field.
The university has four other campuses around the state, and maintains a presence in each of New Mexico’s 33 states.
At its inception, New Mexico state authorities called for the establishment of a faculty of agriculture that incorporated architecture and mechanical arts. To this day the university still works closely with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, which is located on its campus, with the university provides support for state residents in areas such as education, energy and water, farming, ranching and gardening.
New Mexico State University is known as a Hispanic-serving institution with a student population that is 45% Hispanic. It is renowned for its progressive approach towards diversity and first admitted an African-American woman to its student body in 1928, when many other universities in the US were several years away from doing the same.
Five of the university’s buildings were designed by the pioneering southwestern architect, Henry C Trost, in the early part of the twentieth century. They were built in what Trost called ‘Spanish Renaissance architectural style’ in a horseshoe design, something he hoped would promote “an appearance of unity and harmony rarely found in like institutions”.
The university is also renowned for its courses in animation and game design, as well as animal sciences and conservation. It is the only institution in the state to offer a degree in professional golf management.
Its alumni association dates from 1898 and comprises over 120,000 living members, including president of Skymall, Christine Aguilera, and Alvy Ray Smith, the co-founder of computer animation film studio, Pixar.