The oldest public research university in New Mexico, New Mexico State University was founded in 1888 as Las Cruces College, but a federal land-grant for an agricultural experiment station the following year led to re-establishing the college as an agricultural and mechanical engineering institution. That’s been NMSU’s mission ever since, fulfilling the land-grant and space-grant goals of providing the best in research and learning in the sciences, humanities, and professional studies. Today, NMSU is New Mexico’s second-largest university and a center for STEM research in the Southwest, drawing students from across the state and the US.
Academic ProgramsNMSU’s focus is primarily on STEM programs and professional studies, including a number of specialized programs that are not offered anywhere else in the state, such as aerospace engineering, information and communication technology, and professional golf management (a reflection of New Mexico’s tourist and golfing industries). NMSU has also made online education an extensive part of their brand, building well over 40 fully online programs from associate’s to doctoral degrees in areas from business administration and criminal justice to engineering and and nursing.
The land-grant mission puts a priority on providing educational access for all who want it, and New Mexico State has been a major force for minority education in the state. NMSU is the only major public research university in the region designated as a Hispanic-serving institution, and as a member of the Hispanic Association of Hispanic Colleges and Universities, makes a tremendous impact in the state. NMSU has not only won awards for its diversity efforts, but also been highly ranked by Washington Monthly for their commitment to social mobility, particularly giving Latino students access to STEM degrees and high-paying career opportunities in science and technology.
Student LifeAs a highly diverse campus, NMSU offers a wide variety of events and activities for students, including well over 250 student-led organizations and clubs. Some groups are oriented toward cultural and ethnic heritage, such Black Students Association, while other are designed around shared hobbies or interests, such as the Dance Society. NMSU hosts a vibrant Greek scene, with more than a dozen recognized fraternities and sororities, and many honor societies and professional networking associations give students the opportunity to develop their professional brand among their peers.
NMSU also offers Division I sports in the Western Athletic Conference; the football team belongs to the Sunbelt Conference as the WAC discontinued football in 2012. New Mexico State’s most contested rivalry is with the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque; each year, the universities trade off a trophy based on the total number of wins of each of their athletic teams. NMSU fields teams in six men’s sports and 11 women’s sports. The Aggies’ mascot is a cowboy and U.S. Marshall known as Pistol Pete.