tower logo CURRENT STUDENTS | FUTURE STUDENTS | FACULTY/STAFF | A-Z   

History of the WNMU
College of Education

Hall of Fame Educators: Jose M. Espinosa, Jr., Jack S. Howell, Vera H. Crumbley and Ralph E. Harshbarger

San Vincente de la Cienega received a name change in the 1870s from John Bullard when a silver strike at Chloride Flats permitted the miners to build a settlement called Silver City.

February 11, 1893 Territorial Council Bill 20 called for an "act to establish and provide for maintenance and government of the Normal Schools of New Mexico." The Legislative Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico enacted the bill which "created and established at Silver City, in Grant county, and in Las Vegas, in San Miguel county, in the Territory of New Mexico institutions of learning to be known as the Normal Schools."

horses  pulling wagon in front of  normal school
Click for full size image

The Board of Regents rented the Presbyterian Church as temporary quarters for the New Mexico Normal School. The first classes started on September 3, 1894, and the Presbyterian Church housed the New Mexico Normal School for two years and two months.

There were three professors and 57 members of the first class. Tuition for two 20-week semesters was ten dollars.

In 1894 Dr. Charles M. Light was named as the first governing administrative officer of the institution and held the title of Principal of New Mexico Normal School. In 1907, the Board of Regents gave him the title, President.

In November 1896 Old Main was dedicated. Classes moved from the Presbyterian Church to Old Main on Normal Hill on the campus of the New Mexico Normal School (NMNS).


Click for full size image

In 1900 the Training School was erected on the campus of the NMNS. The first dormitory for women, called Ritch Hall, was built in 1904. Summer School was implemented in 1908 as a means of providing continuing education for New Mexico teachers.

By the spring of 1912 there were thirteen faculty members and the tuition was forty-five dollars to attend summer session 1912. The enrollment for fall 1912 was 455 students.

In 1921 the NMNS conferred 54 degrees including Bachelors of Arts, Bachelors of Pedagogy, Masters of Pedagogy, and high school diplomas.

Two years later, the Sixth Legislature of the State of New Mexico, Senate Bill No. 44, enacted a bill to abbreviate the name of the New Mexico Normal School at Silver City to New Mexico State Teachers College.

On October 20, 1949 the Board of Regents of New Mexico State Teachers College changed to name to New Mexico Western College because "the college had outgrown its function solely as a teachers college" and had embraced training courses which put it in the general college classification.

In January 1963 President John Snedeker suggested a name change from college to university to reflect the "multipurpose institution" that Western had become. Thus was born the current name of Western New Mexico University

In 1996 a new School of Education was introduced by President John Counts. Dr. Bonnie Maldonado was chosen to return as the first Dean of Education. Work began immediately toward regaining national accreditation through the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). WNMU regained initial accreditation during the 1998-1999 academic year.

Dr. Jerry Harmon was selected to replace Dr. Maldonado upon her retirement in 1999. Dr. Maldonado was awarded the title of Emeritus Dean of Education. The School of Education received its re-accreditation from NCATE in 2004.

In December 2004 Dr. Jerry Harmon left WNMU for a position at Eastern New Mexico University. In January 2006 Dr. Patricia Manzanares-Gonzales was named his successor as Dean of the School of Education. Under her leadership, the SOE has expanded its horizons to include new partnerships at the local, state, national, and international level. Notably, Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales is currently the president-elect of TECSCU. Grant funding has improved, and graduate school enrollment has risen. In conjunction with the increasingly diverse faculty, Dr. Manzanares-Gonzales has led the effort to revise and improve degree programs at SOE.


WNMU College of Education
PO Box 680 Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-6416 Fax: 575-538-6417


Last updated: December 11, 2013
©2014 -- REGENTS OF WESTERN NEW MEXICO UNIVERSITY
PO BOX 680 SILVER CITY NEW MEXICO | PHONE 1-800-872-9668
HOME   |    ABOUT US  |   ADMINISTRATION   |   CAMPUS DIRECTORY   |   CONSUMER INFORMATON   |   HED DASHBOARD   |   WESTERN INSTITUTE FOR LIFELONG LEARNING   |   CONTACT US