|April 26, 2019
Today we celebrate Founders Day, and we harken back to 1888 when Hiram Hadley presided over the two rooms that made up the entire campus of Las Cruces College. A year later, the 1889 Territorial Legislature authorized the creation of a land-grant college in Las Cruces, to be named the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts. Las Cruces College merged with the new land-grant institution and the merged college opened in January 1890 — with 35 students and six faculty members. We have come a long way since then, and the end of an academic year is an appropriate time to acknowledge some of our other founders.
Last week I attended my first Pass in Review, a long-standing tradition in which military commanders inspect their troops. This was the 117th Annual Pass in Review for our Army ROTC program, reflective of the long tradition the military has at NMSU. For over a century, students have chosen to use their education in the service of our country. The names in Memorial Hall honor Aggies who have given their lives in that service, going all the way back before the turn of the last century. These students, too, are our founders.
Today, at Founders Day, we honored more Aggie Legends. Barbara “Mother” Hubbard is usually described as a concert promoter, but in a 2017 article, she described herself as “an educator, first and foremost.” She considered helping students learn about the entertainment industry to be a key goal in the management of the Pan American Center, saying “I couldn’t have done it without the students’ help.”
We also honored Mark Medoff, who left his mark on the English and Theater Arts departments as a faculty member and as a founder of the Creative Media Institute. He was a gifted writer and director, and excelled as a teacher; his work will carry on among the thousands of students and colleagues fortunate to have worked with him.
Our final award recipient today was Michael Ray from the American Indian Program. He received the A Mountain Staff Award, and in honoring his work, we are reminded that walking among us are people who are laying the foundation for NMSU’s future.
I have now been here for 10 months, and it has been an honor to serve as your president. I am especially honored that so many of you have joined in the discussion of the future of NMSU. This discussion is important, and strategic planning is really not about the product. It is about inviting everybody into the conversation – to engage. To discuss. To imagine. To be bold and shape our future.
As we move forward, I want even more of you to contribute ideas about NMSU’s future. This is our university, and we all own it. Every one of us. Everybody here contributes to our mission. You are all founders.
Please send any feedback to President.Floros@nmsu.edu.