Fabian Garcia

Fabian Garcia (January 20, 1871 – August 6, 1948)[1] was a Mexican-American horticulturist who has been described as "the father of the New Mexican food industry".[2] Among other things, he helped to develop new varieties of chile peppers, pecans, and onions that are still grown in New Mexico.[3] For example, in 1921, he introduced the "New Mexico 9", a strain of chile pepper which became the genetic ancestor of all New Mexico chiles.[4]

Fabian Garcia
Born(1871-01-20)January 20, 1871
Chihuahua, Mexico
DiedAugust 6, 1948(1948-08-06) (aged 77)
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationNew Mexico State University
Known forNew Mexico chile
Julieta Amador
m. 1907⁠–⁠1920)
AwardsInducted into the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsNew Mexico State University

Early life and educationEdit

Garcia was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on January 20, 1871, to Ricardo García and Refugio Romero de García. He became an orphan at the age of two. He then moved to the US state of New Mexico with his paternal grandmother, Jacoba García. He originally lived in the Mimbres Valley in the southwestern part of the state, but he and his grandmother later moved to the Mesilla Valley. In 1889, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States, and in 1890, he began taking classes at the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (NMA&MA, now known as New Mexico State University). He was a member of the school's first graduating class in 1894, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree that year.[1][2] He went on to attend Cornell University to do graduate research in the 1899–1900 academic year before returning to the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, where he received his master's degree in 1905 or 1906.[1][5]

Academic careerEdit

Garcia became the first director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1913 or 1914.[1][5] He also became a professor of horticulture at the College in 1906.[6] For many years, he was the only faculty member of Mexican descent at the College.[2] According to New Mexico State University, when he became director of the Station, he also became "the first Hispanic in the nation to lead a land-grant agricultural research station." Later in his career, he began providing rooms to Mexican-American students at the College in the horticulture farm on campus. He retired from NMA&MA in 1945 after falling ill.[3]

Personal life and deathEdit

Garcia married Julieta Amador, a member of a prominent Mimbres Valley family, in 1907. They remained married until her death in 1920; Garcia never remarried.[5] He died on August 6, 1948 at McBride’s Hospital in Las Cruces, New Mexico,[3] three years after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.[2] He left his entire estate to New Mexico State University,[3] including $89,000 toward the construction of a dormitory on campus for Hispanic students, and to provide scholarships to these students. The resulting dormitory, Fabián García Memorial Hall, was dedicated on October 17, 1949.[1] In explaining why he left his estate to the University, he said, "I want to help poor boys, for I know their hardship."[2]


The Fabian Garcia Science Center at New Mexico State University is named after Garcia,[7] as are the University's Center for International Programs, Garcia Hall, and the building containing their Center for International Programs.[3] In 2005, he was inducted into the American Society for Horticultural Science Hall of Fame.[1] In 2019, he became the first Hispanic and the first New Mexican to be inducted into the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Fabián García, Biographical Sketch". New Mexico History.org. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wave, Next (2004-09-10). "MiSciNet's Ancestors of Science, Fabian Garcia". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Fabian Garcia". Chile Pepper Institute. New Mexico State University. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  4. ^ Kocherga, Angela (2019-09-30). "Chile pioneer honored". Albuquerque Journal. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  5. ^ a b c "Fabian Garcia". Office of the President. New Mexico State University. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  6. ^ Tallman, Charlotte (2014). Legendary Locals of Las Cruces. Arcadia Publishing. p. 43. ISBN 9781467101332.
  7. ^ "History". Fabian Garcia Science Center. New Mexico State University. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  8. ^ Chavez, Adriana M. (2019-08-31). "Fabián García, of NMSU, to become first Hispanic in national agricultural hall of fame". Las Cruces Sun News. Retrieved 2019-11-10.

Further readingEdit