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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Chicano Programs History

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Chicano Programs was established at NMSU during the 1970’s. Chicano Programs and the other “ethnic” programs, American Indian Program and Black Programs were established simultaneously. These offices were established as the immediate result of student protests on campus.  Many student leaders were concerned at the extreme lack of minority faculty and administrators at NMSU. At that time, there were only two or three faculty members of Hispanic descent at NMSU. The students expressed the need for Hispanic, Black and Native American faculty and administrators who understood their backgrounds and their issues and communities. The NMSU administration responded by establishing these offices.

The original offices of the ethnic programs were located in the basement of Hadley Hall. Years later, the offices were moved to the first floor of Garcia Annex. Some of the offices of Chicano Programs are decorated with cultural murals that were painted by students. The mural in the Chicano Programs’ computer lab has been declared as a historical mural that cannot be removed. This mural was painted by Hector Tellez and Robert Lavadie of Taos. Another mural was painted by Silvia Saenz (now Sylvia Sierra) in 1982. In 2010 the American Indian Student Center was opened. After the opening some of the space formerly occupied by American Indian Programs was occupied as the office of the Chicano Programs director.

The first director of Chicano Programs was Dr. Pesqueira After his tenure, Dr. Louis Sarabia served as director for many years. A former assistant director, Dr. Narcisa Zarate, is now a donor of one of Chicano Program’s scholarships. Dr. Laura Gutiérrez Spencer became the director of Chicano Programs in 1996.

Garcia Annex was built with a donation by Dr. Fabián Garcia and his wife. Dr. Garcia was part of the first graduating class of New Mexico State University which was then known as “ New Mexico College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts.” Dr. Garcia became a member of the faculty in the field of agriculture. His research included the development of new strains of chile. Fabián and Mrs. Garcia established Garcia Annex as a dorm for Hispanic males because they understood the great need that impoverished Mexican American students had for support in completing their studies.

The need for financial, emotional support and mentorship still exits. That is why the staff of Chicano Programs is happy to serve NMSU’s land grant mission by providing guidance and support to students from all backgrounds.