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New Mexico State University

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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University logo
Former names
Las Cruces College,
New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts
Established 1888
Type Public
Endowment $222 million[1]
President Garrey Carruthers
Academic staff
Students 18,497[2]
Undergraduates 14,698[2]
Postgraduates 3,799[2]
Location Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States
Campus Urban, 6000 acres (24 km²)
Colors Crimson, White [3]
Athletics NCAA Division IWAC, Sun Belt (football)
Nickname Aggies
Mascot Pistol Pete
Website .edu.nmsuwww

New Mexico State University (commonly referred to as NMSU-Las Cruces, NMSU, New Mexico State, or NM State), is a major public, land-grant, research university in Las Cruces, New Mexico, United States. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest public institution of higher education in the state of New Mexico. NMSU is the second largest four-year university in the state, in terms of total enrollment across all campuses as of 2011, with campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Doña Ana County, and Grants, with extension and research centers across New Mexico.[4]

It was founded to teach agriculture in 1888 as the Las Cruces College, and the following year became New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. It received its present name in 1960. NMSU has 18,497 students enrolled as of Fall 2009, and has a faculty-to-student ratio of about 1 to 19. NMSU offers a wide range of programs and awards associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees through its main campus and four community colleges. NMSU is the only research-extensive, land-grant, USA-Mexico border institution classified by the federal government as serving Hispanics.[5]


  • History 1
  • Campus 2
    • Housing 2.1
    • Libraries 2.2
      • Branson Hall Library 2.2.1
      • Zuhl Library 2.2.2
    • Museums and Collections 2.3
    • Police Department 2.4
  • Academics 3
    • Rankings 3.1
      • Diversity 3.1.1
  • Institutes and research programs 4
    • Research programs 4.1
    • Academic Centers and Research Institutes 4.2
  • Student life 5
    • Student organizations 5.1
      • Student government 5.1.1
        • ASNMSU
    • Greek life 5.2
      • Panhellenic Council 5.2.1
      • Interfraternity Council 5.2.2
      • Multicultural Greek Council 5.2.3
        • Fraternities
        • Sororities
      • National Greek Academic Honor Society/organizations 5.2.4
    • Media 5.3
  • Traditions 6
    • Aggies 6.1
    • Victory Bell 6.2
    • "A" Tradition 6.3
    • The Pride of New Mexico Marching Band 6.4
    • The Wonder Dog 6.5
    • Crimson Fridays 6.6
    • NMSU ring 6.7
    • Noche de Luminarias 6.8
  • Athletics 7
    • Rivalries 7.1
  • Notable people 8
    • Alumni 8.1
    • Faculty 8.2
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Hiram Hadley

In 1888 Hiram Hadley, an Earlham College-educated teacher from Indiana, started Las Cruces College. One decade later, the Territorial Assembly of New Mexico provided for the establishment of an agricultural college and agricultural experiment station with Bill No. 28, the Rodey Act of 1889. It stated: " Said institution is hereby located at or near the town of Las Cruces in the County of Doña Ana,upon a tract of land of not less than one hundred (100) acres, This land could be contiguous to the main Las Cruces irrigating ditch, south of said town." Designated as the land-grant college for New Mexico under the Morrill Act, it was named the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.[6]

Las Cruces College then merged with the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts, and opened on January 21, 1890. It began with 35 students and 6 faculty members. The college was supposed to graduate its first student in 1893, but the only senior, named Sam Steel, was murdered before he was able to receive his diploma.[7] Classes met in the two-room adobe building of Las Cruces College until new buildings were erected on the 220-acre (0.89 km2) campus three miles (5 km) south of Las Cruces. In February 1891, McFie Hall, popularly known as Old Main, opened its doors. McFie Hall burned down in 1910, but its remains can be seen in the center of Pride Field on the University Horseshoe.[6]

In 1960, in move to better represent its operations, New Mexico A&M was renamed New Mexico State University by a state constitutional amendment.[6]

New Mexico State University now has a 6,000-acre (24 km2) campus and enrolls more than 21,000 students from the United States and 71 foreign countries. Full-time faculty members number 694, with a staff of 3,113. The university has an extensive international student population from in Central America, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.


As one of the largest college campuses in the nation, the main campus of New Mexico State University sits on 6,250 acres (24 km²) of land in the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico.[8] It is located in the southern part of the Pan American Highway interchange, Interstate 25, surrounded by desert landscape and greenhouses.[9] The main campus is also bordered by Interstate 10, which is the main east-west interstate highway across the Southern part of the United States. To the east of Interstate 25, the campus facilities consist of the President's residence, NMSU Golf Course, the "A" Mountain west slope, and the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. South of University Avenue are Pan American Plaza, 48 acres of horse farm, and the Fabian Garcia Science center, which houses the Chile Pepper Institute's research, teaching and demonstration garden, algal biofuels research equipment, grape vineyards and gazebos, and fields and greenhouses for plant research projects. About six miles south of campus on 203 acres of land is the Leyendecker Plant Science Research Center.[10]

The first master plan of the university was to create a "Horseshoe", a U shaped drive, in an open large lawn. At the center, was the Old Main, the original campus building, originally known as McFie Hall, destroyed by fire in 1910 and the remains are now a college landmark. The cornerstone and remains of Mcfie Hall stands near the flagpole and in the middle of the Horseshoe.[11] Today, the Horseshoe is the center of campus and is the location of the main administration building, Hadley Hall, which sits at the top of the Horseshoe, and other classroom buildings.[12]

As a land-grand institution, its mission is to serve New Mexico's diverse population through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education, and public service across New Mexico, the nation, and the world.[13] As a result, NMSU has a presence in all 33 counties of New Mexico, a satellite learning center in Albuquerque, 13 research and science centers, distance education opportunities, and five NMSU campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Grants, Doña Ana County, and in Las Cruces.[14]

New Mexico State University main campus, with Aggie Memorial Stadium on the left, and the main "colleges" on the right, along University Avenue


NMSU Housing is available to students who choose to live on campus. There are several residential areas to choose from, including residential halls, apartments, graduate housing, family communities, living learning communities, and theme communities.[15] Housing includes;

  • Chamisa Village Apartments Stage I
  • Chamisa Village Apartments Stage II
  • Cervantes Village Apartment Complex
  • Cole Village
  • Garcia Hall
  • Monagle Hall
  • Pinon Hall
  • Rhodes Garrett Hamiel
  • Tom Fort and Sutherland Village
  • Vista Del Monte Apartments


Zuhl Library

NMSU has two major libraries on the main campus.[16] These include Branson Hall Library and Zuhl Library. Both libraries have a total collection of more than 1 million volumes.[17]

Branson Hall Library

Branson Hall Library was built in 1951 and houses texts and resources related to engineering, business, agriculture, science, special collections, maps, government publications, and archives.[18] A sculpture made of bronze named "Joy of Learning", created by Grant Kinzer, former Department Head of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science, can be found on the north side of Branson Hall.|coauthors=[19]

Zuhl Library

Zuhl Library was built in 1992 at a cost of $11 million. The library houses texts and resources related to the arts, humanities, and sciences.[20] North of Zuhl Library is a 20 foot wide steel and granite sculpture, named " A Quest for Knowledge", which was created by Federico Armijo, an Albuquerque native.[21]

Museums and Collections

NMSU is home to several museums, collections, and galleries. The NMSU Arthropod Museum, which houses more than 150,000 research and 5,000 teaching specimens, is housed in Skeen Hall. Specimens are used globally for taxonomic research and within the state for community outreach. The University Museum (established in 1959) serves the community as a repository and exhibitor of local and regional culture and history.[22] The Klipsch Museum is a tribute to Paul and Valerie Klipsch, who provided materials representing more than 80 years of audio engineering. It is located in NMSU’s Foreman Engineering Complex. The Zuhl Collection combines the functions of an art gallery and natural history museum and showcases thousands of specimens of petrified wood, fossils, and minerals.

Police Department

The university has a dedicated police department employing 35 people, including 22 full-time commissioned police officers. The number of employed personnel expands greatly during special events such as concerts or sporting events, with as many as 50 security guards and dozens of additional officers from other departments. The current chief of police is Stephen Lopez.[23] In addition to the Las Cruces campus, the department also has authority for all university-owned campuses, lands and facilities around the state.[24]

To improve student safety, the department monitors a network of cameras around campus, using recorded footage to solve crimes after they occur or real-time monitoring to investigate suspicious activity as it occurs. The university is currently working to improve the quality and consistency of cameras across campus.[25]

The department also offers personal defense courses for females on campus, including training in rape prevention, escape and the proper use of pepper sprays.[26] Campus officers receive training on gender identity/expression issues, which has helped the university achieve an overall score of 4 out of 5 for LGBT friendliness.[27]


New Mexico State University is the land grant university of the state of New Mexico. As a thriving center of higher education, deeply rooted in the southwestern tradition, its role as a comprehensive university is recognized throughout the state. New Mexico State University offers a wide variety of programs through the Graduate School and the colleges: Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Extended Learning and Health and Social Services. The 21 doctoral programs are limited primarily to agriculture, education, engineering, and the sciences; the specialist in education degree is offered in 4 study areas; the education doctorate degree is offered in 3 study areas; there are 51 master’s degree programs and 87 baccalaureate degree programs. At its four branch community colleges, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Doña Ana Community College and Grants State University offers academic, vocational/technical, and continuing education programs. In accord with its land-grant mission, New Mexico State University provides informal, off-campus educational programs through the Cooperative Extension Service. Through a statewide network of 9 research facilities, the Agricultural Experiment Station conducts basic and applied research supporting agriculture, natural resources management, environmental quality, and improved quality of life.[28]

Zuhl Library with Organ Mountains in the background.

NMSU is divided into graduate school and several colleges. These include:

  • College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences[29]
  • College of Arts and Sciences[30]
  • College of Business[31]
  • College of Education[32]
  • College of Engineering[33]
  • Graduate School[34]
  • College of Health and Social Services[35]
  • College of Honors[36]


University rankings
Forbes[37] 417
U.S. News & World Report[38] 199
Washington Monthly[39] 114

NMSU was ranked as tied for 199th in the national universities category and tied for 116th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) in its 2016 rankings.[40] Also, USN&WR in 2016 ranked the College of Engineering's graduate program as tied for 127th, the Nursing School tied for 127th, and the College of Education's graduate program 153rd in the nation.[40] In addition, Chemistry, English, Math, Physics, Social Work and Speech-Language Pathology were all ranked within the top 150 best graduate programs by USN&WR.[40]


The University of Southern California's Center for Urban Education names NMSU as one of the top 25 institutions with "effective practices for increasing the number of Latino recipients" of bachelor's degrees in the STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—fields.[41][42] ranks NMSU 4 out of 5 stars for LGBT friendliness.[27]

Institutes and research programs

Research programs

Foster Hall is home to the Department of Biology

Since its founding as New Mexico’s land grant college in 1888, New Mexico State University has encouraged and supported creative scholarly activity of its faculty and students. New Mexico State University is ranked by the National Science Foundation among United States colleges and universities with high research and development, and is among the top institutions without a medical school in terms of R&D expenditures. Most early research followed mandates of the founding legislation of land-grant colleges by generating knowledge useful in agriculture and engineering. Over time, however, research has expanded from this focus on applied natural sciences to include all disciplines of the university. Today, creative scholarly activity leads to basic scientific discoveries as well as practical applications emanating from the natural and social sciences, arts, humanities, business, education and health sciences in addition to engineering and agriculture. This creative activity enriches academic program for students, provides training and employment opportunities, and attracts externally funded support to enhance university research, academic programs and facilities.[28]

NASA logo
The university is home to New Mexico's NASA Space Grant Program.[43]

In 2010, the NMSU Physical Sciences Laboratory has secured a study contract with Reaction Engines Limited, a British aerospace company that is developing technology for an airbreathing single-stage to orbit, precooled air turboramjet based spaceplane.[44]

NMSU is a research active university, with $150 million per year in externally funded research programs. Its estimated annual economic impact in New Mexico is $1 billion. Anchoring the southern end of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Research Corridor, NMSU is the only university to reach the platinum, or highest, level of service to NASA’s Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program. SATOP makes the expertise of corporate and university researchers available to small businesses.[45]

Academic Centers and Research Institutes

  • Agricultural Experiment Station conducts basic and applied research supporting agriculture, natural resources management, environmental quality, and improved quality of life.
  • Arrowhead Center, provides business assistance, technology incubation, intellectual property commercialization, economic policy analysis and growth to local businesses as well as students, staff and faculty at the university.[46]
  • Institute for Energy and Environment(IEE) is a multidisciplinary, energy sector and water resource institute serving the Southwest and beyond.[47] IEE develops innovative solutions through the synergy of an academic, governmental and private sector partnership. IEE’s ultimate goal is to provide global leadership, expertise, and technology for public policy, technical and human resource development to meet growing energy and water needs. The International Environmental Design Contest is co-hosted by the IEE.[48]
  • Manufacturing Technology and Engineering Center (M-TEC) supports economic development in New Mexico by providing quality manufacturing education, technical assistance, and other extension services to extension services to industries in New Mexico.

Student life

Student organizations

NMSU has multiple student organizations, as well as a Greek system. There are several religious organizations, including The Christian Challenge-BSU. The Associated Students of New Mexico State University[49] is the student government, it is a departmental organization.[50]

Skeen Hall with Organ Mountains in the background. Skeen houses the Department of Entomology Plant Pathology and Weed Science, the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, and the Department of Extension Plant Sciences

Student government


The Associated Students of New Mexico State University (ASNMSU) is the student government of NMSU, with an elected student body president, vice president, 30 senators, and an appointed student supreme court. Senators are elected to two semester terms, with two elections each school year, in each, 15 senators are elected. There are 12 different departments within ASNMSU, who manage various events such as the homecoming parade, free students concerts, a free cab program for students, and many others. Each department is overseen by a directors, who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. ASNMSU manages a budget of over one million dollars.[51]

Greek life

Fraternities and sororities at New Mexico State University include:[52]

Panhellenic Council

Interfraternity Council

Multicultural Greek Council


National Greek Academic Honor Society/organizations


The Round Up is the official student-run newspaper of New Mexico State University since 1907. It distributes a weekly print edition at the campus and gives breaking news daily on their website.[53]

KRWG-TV is a full service television station in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is operated and owned by New Mexico State University. It is a member station of PBS (Public Broadcasting Service). The station also provide students will real hands-on experience in the daily operations of a TV station, such as the broadcast of KRWG-TV 22, which is administered by the student themselves.[54]

NMSU owns and operates two radio stations, the KRUX (91.5 FM) and the KRWG-FM.

KRUX is an entirely student –run, non-commercial radio station located in Las Cruces, New Mexico and was founded in 1989. KRUX is financed through student fees administered by the Associated Students of New Mexico State University, the student government of NMSU. It is a member of the Collegiate Music Journal Network.[55]

KRWG-FM (90.7 FM) is a public, non-commercial, full service FM station. It serves the area within southwestern New Mexico and Far West of Texas. It is an affiliated station of National Public Radio and features NPR programming.[56]



The nickname was derived from its roots and beginnings as an agricultural school and the state's only land-grant university designation.

Victory Bell

Goddard Hall

In the 1940s, the Victory Bell, a gift of the Class of 1939, was housed in an open-sided structure on the Horseshoe and rung to announce Aggie victories. In 1972, the bell was rededicated as the NMSU Engineer's Bell and mounted on a platform near Goddard Hall. On game days, various school organizations took turns in toting the ringing bell around Las Cruces prior to kick-off. The Bell was then taken to Aggie Memorial Stadium where it saluted Aggie touchdowns with its distinctive – and loud – chimes. More recently, the bell has been permanently mounted at field level just behind the south goal post of the stadium.[57]

"A" Tradition

In 1920, students of then New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts scouted for an appropriate place to display their school letter. Tortugas Mountain, located three miles (5 km) east of campus, seemed a natural spot. Brave males gathered enough stones to form a big "A" easily visible from campus and the surrounding area. On the following day, April 1, students trudged up the mountain side with their five-gallon cans of whitewash and splashed it on the stones, turning them into a gleaming white "A". For many years, giving the "A" its annual fresh coat of whitewash was an all-school effort. The seniors mixed lime and water at the foot of the mountain and the freshmen and sophomores toted the mixture up to the juniors who splashed it on the "A." With the growth of the university through the years, the tradition was taken over by the Greek Council.[57]

The Pride of New Mexico Marching Band

The marching band of New Mexico State University is known as the Pride of New Mexico. It is composed of approximately 200 of the best and finest musicians, dancers, and auxiliary in the state and in the nation. The intention of the "PRIDE" is to provide entertainment at football games, parades, and other NMSU events.[58]

The Wonder Dog

On every NMSU football kickoff, Aggie fans eagerly await the "Wonder Dog" to retrieve the kicking tee from the football field during home games. This fun tradition started in the mid 1990s. The first "Wonder Dog" was Smoki, a border collie-Australian shepherd mix born in Capitan, New Mexico, and trained by Joel Sims, a NMSU alumni. Smoki "The Wonder Dog" entertained the Aggie crowd for six years, even with defeat, and retired in 2002. She also debut in a Hollywood film which co-starred Kevin Costner and Dennis Quaid, entitled "Wyatt Earp", as a town dog.[59] "Smoki the Wonder Dog" died at the age of 15 in 2005. Since then, the fun tradition ended until in 2012, a tryout for the next "Wonder Dog" took place to take over Smoki and to continue on the long time tradition. After the deliberation that took 2 hours, the panel of celebrity judges has officially chosen Striking as the next "Wonder Dog", following the legacy of Smoki. Striking "The Wonder Dog" is a 4 year old, border collie breed, owned and handled by Dr. Stochj, a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at New Mexico State University and also serves as Chair for the President's Research and Economic Development Committee. Striking first appeared in August 30, 2012 at the NMSU-Sacramento State home game.[60]

Crimson Fridays

Every Friday, some students, faculties, staff, and alumni of NMSU wear crimson colors to show support for the university and the school's sports program.[61]

NMSU ring

The official ring of New Mexico State University is given to students with junior and senior standing and alumni of NMSU to celebrate and commemorate each of the ring bearers’ achievement and NMSU traditions. The official Ring Ceremony is sponsored by the Alumni Association which is held every spring and fall Semester at the Aggie Memorial Tower.[62]

The ring symbolizes dedication, hard work, and the pursuit of excellence. It is a tangible and lifelong reminder of the NMSU experience; the Organ Mountains, Horseshoe, Memorial Tower, the taste of red or green chile.

The official

  • Official website
  • New Mexico State University Athletics website

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^
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  6. ^ a b c
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  9. ^
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ [2]
  12. ^ [3] Archived January 15, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ [4] Archived February 19, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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  15. ^ [5] Archived January 12, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
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  17. ^ [6] Archived August 21, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ [7] Archived May 30, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^
  20. ^ [8] Archived January 27, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^
  22. ^ [9] Archived January 12, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ New Mexico State University names Lopez chief of police. NMSU Newscenter. 07-16-2012, retrieved 02-10-2013.
  24. ^ NMSU Police Department celebrates promotions, achievements. NMSU Newscenter. 12-21-2012, retrieved 02-10-2014.
  25. ^ NMSU camera policy can help security on campus. James Staley, Las Cruces Sun News. 12-15-2013, retrieved 02-10-2014.
  26. ^ Classes teach students how to fight back. Claudia Zarate, NMSU Roundup (student newspaper). 10-22-2013, retrieved 02-10-2014.
  27. ^ a b New Mexico State University. Retrieved 02-10-2014.
  28. ^ a b
  29. ^
  30. ^ College of Arts and Sciences
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  35. ^ College of Health and Social Services
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ a b c
  41. ^ Dowd, A.C., Malcom, L.E., & Bensimon, E.M. (2009). Benchmarking the success of Latino and Latina students in STEM to achieve national graduation goals. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California.
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  51. ^ About Us.
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Historian Burl Noggle taught at NMSU from 1955 to 1960. He later moved to Louisiana State University, where he penned a book on the Teapot Dome scandal.[74]

Faculties of NMSU receives numerous fellowship, scholarships, and awards. Some notable faculty include Paul Bosland, an internationally recognized authority on chile who leads the university’s chile breeding research program and directs the Chile Pepper Institute at NMSU;[70] Seamus “Shay” Curran, a physicist who is also an entrepreneur and who is developing NMSU’s nanotechnology initiative, focusing on alternative energy sources, water technology, and new materials;[71] Reta Beebe, a world-leading authority on the giant planets, who headed a team of world scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope to observe Jupiter;[72] Clyde Tombaugh, an astronomer best known for his discovery of Pluto;[73] Antonya Nelson, named by The New Yorker as one of the 20 best young fiction writers in America, who has published three novels and more than 50 stories


There are approximately 120,173 NMSU living alumni in the United States and around the world.[66] The NMSU Alumni Association is one of the oldest organization of the university dating back from May 24. 1898.[67] The Alumni Association provides network for alumni and friends of New Mexico State University, which connect to the university through different events. Some notable alumni of NMSU include Jerome Shaw, EVP/COO of Volt Information Sciences, Inc;[68] Christine Aguilera, President of SkyMall;[69] Alvy Ray Smith, co-founder of Pixar; Kevin Johnson, CEO, Juniper Networks; and Pervis Atkins, NFL Hall of Fame inductee.


Notable people

NMSU Aggie Memorial Stadium

NMSU maintains strong athletic rivalries with the University of New Mexico. The UNM-NMSU rivalry is represented by the Rio Grande Rivalry, a series based on points awarded to the winners of head to head competitions between the two universities in every sport. A rotating trophy is granting to the winning university for a period of one year, until the award presentation the following year. Different traditions take place at each schools the night before game day. NMSU also has had a strong football rivalry with the University of Texas at El Paso known as The Battle of I-10.


NMSU's teams are called the Aggies, a nickname derived from the university's agricultural beginnings. New Mexico State is in its sixth season as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), except in football where NMSU competes in the Sun Belt Conference. The Western Athletic Conference was the fifth conference NMSU has been affiliated with in its football history. New Mexico State spent the past six seasons as a member of the Sun Belt Conference. Prior to that, NMSU was a member of the Big West Conference (called the Pacific Coast Athletic Association until 1988), Missouri Valley Conference and the Border Conference.[57]



Each candle set is lit inside a paper bag. More than 6,000 luminarias, begins at the Educational Services Building, extending towards the International Mall and then encircle the Corbett Center Student Union. The display is being set up by the Las Cruces High School band, and will serenade the visitors as they walk through the lighted path by the Las Cruces High School Brass Choir.[65]

A tradition that signals the beginning of the holiday season is the "Noche de Luminarias” or “Night of Lights”. A university tradition that started as the President’s Holiday Reception in 1984, which kick offs the holiday season with a night of entertainment and festivities. It is considered one of the largest luminaria displays in the state of New Mexico.[64]

Noche de Luminarias


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