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New Mexico Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) is a public comprehensive university located in Las Vegas, New Mexico, United States. It aims to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to attain an exceptional education by fostering creativity, critical thinking and research in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a diverse community. New Mexico Highlands University is one of the leading colleges in the country for boosting its students’ social mobility, according to the Brookings Institution.

New Mexico Highlands University
New Mexico Highlands University seal.svg
Motto Artes, Scientiae, Humanitates
Type Public
Established 1893
President Sam Minner
Students 3,765[1]
Location Las Vegas, New Mexico, United States
Campus Suburban
Colors Purple and White[2]
Nickname Cowboys and Cowgirls
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IIRocky Mountain
New Mexico Highlands University logo.svg



Ivan Hilton Science Center

The university was first established as New Mexico Normal School in 1893, with the prominent archaeologist Edgar Lee Hewett serving as its first president. The institution became New Mexico Normal University in 1902, and then New Mexico Highlands University in 1941, as it expanded its role beyond teacher education. Today, NMHU offers graduate and undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, education, and social work.

Located in Las Vegas, a city with a population of about 16,000, Highlands' main campus is close to recreational and wilderness areas and is within an hour's drive of Santa Fe and two hours from Albuquerque.

The majority of the school's approximately 3,765 students are from New Mexico and are Latino. Highlands' programs focus on its multiethnic student body, especially the Latino and American Indian cultures distinctive of New Mexico.


NMHU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and also has specialty accreditations. The School of Education received full accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 2012. The School of Business is accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). The School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The School of Social and Behavioral Sciences is accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).[3]


Rodgers Hall, Administration Offices of NMHU

Undergraduate and graduate degreesEdit

  • College of Arts and Sciences[4]
  • School of Business[5]
  • School of Education[6]
  • School of Social Work[7]

Student lifeEdit

There are over 50 student organizations at NMHU.

Student governmentEdit

Student government at New Mexico Highlands University is composed of three branches: executive, legislative (senate), and judicial. Student senate is represented by undergraduate students in addition to individual graduate student representatives from their respective colleges and schools of the university. Each undergraduate senator is responsible for representing 100 students. The dean of students serves as the advisor to student government. Elections for student government take place in the Spring of each academic year. Executives (president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer) and senators are elected by the entire student body. The president pro-tempore serves as the majority floor leader and is elected from within the ranks of the senate to the position each year. The parliamentarian is appointed by the president at the first student senate meeting of the academic year.

Executive officersEdit

Name Position Took office Term
Julian Padilla President 2016 2017
Isaac Lopez Vice-President 2016 2017
Natasha Lujan Secretary 2016 2017
Steven Gonzales Treasurer 2016 2017
John Ramon Vigil President Pro-Tempore 2015 2017
Michael Tudor Parliamentarian 2016 2017


NMHU's athletic teams are nicknamed the Cowboys / Cowgirls, and compete in the NCAA's Division II's Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Ten varsity athletics programs are offered, including women's soccer, cross-country, track, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, wrestling, baseball and college football.

Statewide centersEdit

Donnelly Library

In the 1997-1998 academic year, New Mexico Highlands University established an extended learning center in Rio Rancho and began offering upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses in business, accounting, education, and social work. The center has continued with classes in those areas and has added studies in criminal justice, public affairs administration, computer science and general and school counseling.

There are also many other centers, including in Santa Fe, Farmington, and, Rio Rancho.

In pop cultureEdit

The campus can be seen in the movie Red Dawn as the town of Las Vegas substituted for a fictional community of Calumet, Colorado. It can also be seen in the John Carpenter film Vampires.

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Enrollment
  2. ^ New Mexico Highlands University Graphic, Style & Web Guide (PDF). Retrieved 2017-05-21. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ College of Arts and Sciences
  5. ^ School of Business
  6. ^ School of Education
  7. ^ School of Social Work
  8. ^ "Mark Cotney". Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Reggie Garrett". Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Keith Jardine MMA Bio". Sherdog. Retrieved 2014-01-01. 
  11. ^ "Keith Jardine UFC Bio". Retrieved 2014-01-01. 

External linksEdit