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NMSU wraps up NM Centennial year events with lecture series, dinners

The wide-ranging history of New Mexico from its ancient indigenous people to its high-tech space faring feats will play out in a series of lectures at New Mexico State University in October and November. The series called "From Sun Watchers to Star Chasers: An Overview of New Mexico's History" will round out more than a year of events at the university celebrating the state's Centennial. The talks start on Wednesday, Oct. 3, and run every other Wednesday through Nov. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Gerald Thomas Hall.


Head and shoulders of man standing against wood and adobe wall background
NMSU history professor and department head Jon Hunner poses for a photo near the plaza in Old Mesilla. Hunner will wrap up more than a year of New Mexico Centennial events with a lecture series in October and November. (photo by Darren Phillips)

"Every period of New Mexico history is just full of fascinating characters and incredible events done against a backdrop of wonderful New Mexico landscapes and blue skies," said Jon Hunner, who will host the lecture series. "I think we have one of the most fascinating histories of any state in the union."

Hunner, NMSU history professor and department head in the College of Arts and Sciences has been an organizer of a number of events to celebrate the state's 100 years of statehood. This lecture series will be the last of these events. On Oct. 3, it begins with the history of New Mexico's first inhabitants before contact with Europeans. The second talk on Oct. 17 will delve into the Spanish and Mexican eras in New Mexico's history. On Oct. 31, the discussion will follow territorial New Mexico and the state's "stumble to statehood." On Nov. 14, the series wraps up with the focus on 20th and 21st century New Mexico. Time for questions will follow each lecture.

"From sun watchers to star chasers, New Mexicans have been at the forefront of new technologies and social movements over the centuries," Hunner said. "The history of our state centers on contact between a wide range of peoples who have lived or traveled through here and created innovative means to survive and prosper in an arid land. These four lectures explore the fascinating history of the Land of Enchantment as we trace how New Mexicans have adapted to the present and understood the past to better prepare for the future."

All talks are free and open to the public. NMSU's Hotel Restaurant Tourism Management program's 100 West Café also will be open to the public for dinner from 5 - 6 p.m. on Wednesday evenings for $8 per person. The restaurant, a hands-on learning laboratory for NMSU students, is on the first floor of Gerald Thomas Hall. For more information about 100 West Café dinners see http://aces.nmsu.edu/100west .

"They can have a dinner on Wednesday evening that will be over by about 6 or 6:15 and then just mosey down the hallway to Gerald Thomas Hall auditorium and have a lecture about New Mexico History," Hunner said. "What could be nicer?"