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NMSU Board of Regents presents proclamation celebrating 50th anniversary of Grants campus

The New Mexico State University Board of Regents presented a proclamation Wednesday celebrating 50 years of quality education provided by NMSU-Grants, which serves the diverse communities of Cibola County and rural northwest New Mexico.


Group photo
The New Mexico State University Board of Regents presented a proclamation Wednesday celebrating 50 years of quality education provided by NMSU-Grants, which serves the diverse communities of Cibola County and rural northwest New Mexico. (NMSU photo by Justin Bannister)

The proclamation was presented at Wednesday’s Board of Regents meeting by Regents Chair Debra Hicks.

“New Mexico State University Grants is a critical part of our career training that we provide to the state of New Mexico, particularly in that region and the people that you serve, the Hispanic people as well as Native Americans,” Hicks said after presenting the proclamation. “It’s critical to us in the New Mexico State system, and you do a fabulous job.”

NMSU-Grants President Mickey D. Best was not at the meeting, but said, “I am learning more and more from our communities that NMSU-Grants is widely recognized for quality adult education, career technical education, and transfer coursework for those students who wish to pursue a four-year degree.” Best was named president of NMSU-Grants in early 2017.

In 1968, thanks to the cooperative efforts of NMSU and Grants Municipal Schools, NMSU-Grants was established as a branch of the university. During its first year of existence, classes were held in the evening in public school facilities.

The following year, the college moved to its present site, the location of the former Job Corps vocational buildings and gymnasium. Renovation of a main building in 1977 and 1978 resulted in a functional space to house classrooms, a student lounge, the campus bookstore, a library and faculty/administrative offices. Over the years, NMSU-Grants has expanded to include additional classrooms and offices.

In 1987, the campus’ main building was dedicated as the Walter K. Martinez Memorial Hall, in memory of the former state representative and New Mexico Speaker of the House. During Martinez’s tenure, the Grants campus received significant appropriations for capital improvements to plan, remodel and construct the NMSU-Grants physical plant. He also helped establish the Severance Tax Permanent Fund, through which a revenue source was created to fund higher education and other state capital outlay projects.

The campus gymnasium was dedicated as the Joseph A. Fidel Activities Center in October 1993 in recognition of the New Mexico state senator who was a friend and mentor of NMSU-Grants. Fidel was also instrumental in forming the college while serving on the Grants-Cibola County School Board.

Five years later, the remaining Job Corps building on campus was named in honor of Francis (Frank) W. McClure in recognition of his crucial role in the campus’ successful beginning.

Today, the mission of NMSU-Grants is to provide an accessible, quality education through innovative teaching and learning that promotes respect and service for the campus’ students and communities in northwest New Mexico.

“We have solid standards that drive our strategic planning,” Best said. “The institution is embarking on a formal Enrollment and Retention Plan that will serve our service communities and students very well. Our certificate and associate degrees prepare students for success.”