The History of the University


New Mexico State University (NMSU) was founded in 1888 as the state’s land-grant university. Through serving the educational needs of New Mexico’s diverse population, NMSU has provided comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education and public service. Upon its founding, NMSU was known as Las Cruces College and later renamed New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. In 1960, the constitution of New Mexico formally recognized the institution as NMSU. Today, NMSU is a major institution of higher education. Throughout its history, the university has preserved many traditions of its land-grant origin while also increasing emphasis on the fine arts, humanities, social and natural sciences.

For more history, points of pride, and the ranking of New Mexico State University please visit the About NMSU page of the university website.


The mission of the New Mexico State University system is to serve the diverse needs of the state through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension and outreach, and public service. As the state’s land-grant and space-grant university, and as a Hispanic Serving Institution, NMSU fosters learning, inquiry, diversity and inclusion, social mobility, and service to the broader community.


By 2025, the NMSU system will excel in promoting social mobility for our diverse student populations, achieve the highest Carnegie research status (R1), and maintain our Carnegie Community Engagement classification.


  • Leadership: Promoting and creating the ability for Aggies to shape the future
  • Excellence: Providing the highest level of education, research, outreach, and service
  • Access: Welcoming diverse populations to higher education and to the NMSU community
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Embracing our differences as an asset and actively seeking to include wide-ranging perspectives
  • Student-Centered: Supporting the education of our students through every aspect of our university, every day

These values are encapsulated as: BE BOLD. Shape the future.


New Mexico State University has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1926. The HLC may be contacted at:

The Higher Learning Commission
230 North LaSalle St.
Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411
Phone: (800) 621-7440

In addition, the university maintains various specialized and professional accreditations, as listed at the beginning of each college section in the catalog, and as found at

NMSU Graduation and Retention Rates

These rates may be found on the NMSU Institutional Research web site at: