PORTALES, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — Eastern New Mexico University is set to celebrate a major milestone on Thanksgiving Day as its Historic Administration Building will mark 90 years since its opening while a formal celebration will take place in 2024.
On Nov. 23, 1993, officials described that 7,000 people gathered to celebrate the opening of the Administration Building at Eastern New Mexico Junior College campus with Governor A.W. Hockenhull as the guest speaker.
Construction began in 1930 and the ceremonial cornerstone was laid by the Masonic Grand Lodge of New Mexico on Dec. 19, 1930, according to officials.
Maintenance of the building came to a halt for three years due to the Great Depression, and the book “The Golden Years” by former ENMU President Floyd Golden described the building circumstances at the time.
“The Administration Building had deteriorated so badly it was a disgrace,” the book read. “At least half of the windows had been broken, some of the outside doors had been broken or blown off their hinges, and livestock had used the building for shelter during the winter months and as a refuge from the hot sun in the summer.”
Officials added that more than $57,000 of generated funds from the public land dedicated to the school’s use allowed the building to be repaired and the grand opening was then held on Nov. 23, 1993.
A mural to represent the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes in the Holy Bible was then painted in the building in 1937 through the Work Projects Administration by Lloyd Moylan of Albuquerque, an employee of the Work Projects Administration, and his assistant, officials added. The scripture can be seen on the face of the pillars on the second floor of the historic building.
The building represents the “strength and dedication of those who paved the way for today’s ENMU students, faculty, and staff to find success…,” expressed officials, “The administration building is truly the landmark on the ENMU campus.”
“Buildings such as these on university campuses tend to represent the university itself, and ours is no exception,” said James Johnston, ENMU Chancellor. “Portales worked and lobbied hard to get ENMU here, and the building remains a symbol of that effort. We are honored to continue such a rich history and tradition and look forward to the celebrations in 2024.”
Several celebrations to mark the 90th anniversary will take place in 2024 including a celebration with the campus and the community on April 6, 2024 and another celebration with ENMU alumni around homecoming in the fall of 2024, officials added.
Visit the ENMU website for more information on the university and its upcoming events.