An Overview of the US New Mexico Military Institute


New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) is a public military junior college (MJC) and high school in Roswell, New Mexico. Founded in 1891, NMMI operates under the auspices of the State of New Mexico, under a dedicated Board of Regents that reports to the Governor of New Mexico. Located in downtown Roswell, NMMI enrols nearly 1,000 cadets at the junior college and high school levels each year. NMMI is the only state-supported military college located in the western US and has many notable alumni who have served at senior levels in the military and private sector.

Academic school years at NMMI usually begin with nearly 1,000 cadets enrolled, with slight attrition occurring during the school year due to demanding academic and physical requirements. The school’s two-year Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Early Commissioning Programme (ECP) commissions approximately 30 cadets annually as US Army second lieutenants, and almost 100 cadets each year go to one of the five US Federal Service academies.

NMMI’s motto is “Duty, Honor, and Achievement”. The Cadet Honour Code, which was unanimously voted into place by the Corps of Cadets in 1921, states, “A Cadet Will Not Lie, Cheat, or Steal, Nor Tolerate Those Who Do” and is administered by an honour board of cadets, advised by cadre and staff. The school’s athletic teams are the Broncos (junior college) and the Colts (high school), and its colours are scarlet and black.

Brief History

New Mexico Military Institute was founded by Colonel Robert S. Goss and Captain Joseph C. Lea in 1891, originally as the Goss Military Institute, with an initial enrolment of 38 students. It was recognised by the territorial legislature and renamed NMMI in 1893. While the legislature had recognised the school, it failed to provide funding, and the school was forced to close its doors on “Bad Friday”, 29 March 1895. In the winter of 1894-1895 a funding bill was prepared and approved by the legislature. James J. Hagerman donated a 40-acre (16 ha) tract of land which became the current location of the institute. The school reopened in the fall of 1898.

Hundreds of graduates served in World War I and World War II, including Medal of Honour recipient John C. Morgan and hotelier Conrad Hilton of the Hilton Hotels chain.

In 1948, the institute introduced a four-year liberal arts college programme but discontinued it in 1956.

The school became fully coeducational in 1977, although some females had attended as non-cadet day students from 1891 to 1898.

The current superintendent, Major General (retired) Jerry W. Grizzle, was appointed in 2009.

In 2013, the institute broke off relations with the alumni association over disagreement about finances. Members of the alumni association claimed that this was an effort by the school to gain access and control of the over $5.2 million in assets of the association. On 10 June 2013, the school filed a lawsuit in Chaves County to take control of the assets of the alumni association. Editorial response to the institute’s actions has been generally negative, calling it a “hijacking” of the group and its resources. On 21 April 2015, the Fifth Judicial District Court found that the alumni association had not breached its agreement with NMMI and that NMMI had “improperly terminated” the agreement. The judge required the association to turn over the funds.


The original area of land for the campus was donated to the school by local rancher James J. Hagerman, for whom the main barracks complex is named. The institute’s buildings are made in a uniform Gothic Revival style out of buff brick. Its architecture and organisation was inspired by the Virginia Military Institute. The campus is a designated area on the National Register of Historic Places.

NMMI Summer Camo, Main Building

The New Mexico Military Institute Summer Camp, Main Building was built in 1926. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

It is located in a ravine near the Carrizo River, in Lincoln County, New Mexico, near Ruidoso, New Mexico.

The building is U-shaped and reflects a mix of Revivals styles,

with rustic simplicity appropriate to the

wilderness setting of New Mexico’s White Mountains: the Spanish-Pueblo Revival Styles, and the English Tudor Collegiate Gothic Revival Style, with some suggestions of the Italianate Villa Revival Style. The resulting effect is that of an unusual

combination of the “picturesque styles”, unique in New Mexico.

It has ornamental vigas.

It has also been known as Camp Carrizo and Carrizo Lodge.

Cadet Life

Cadets are organised into a Corps of Cadets, following the organization of a cavalry regiment with a Headquarters Troop that comprises the Marching Band. The regiment comprises three squadrons consisting of four to five troops each. Cadets are structured into classes, 6th Class (9th grade high school equivalent) through 1st Class (college sophomore). Cadets are all treated on the basis of earned merit. The military boarding school environment is maintained by the cadet leadership, with all academic classes, meals, and military and physical training occurring “on post” (on campus) in a controlled environment. Based on the rank structure of the Virginia Military Institute, cadets start out as New Cadets, also known as RATs (recruits at training). College and high school cadets are RATs for one semester, then the next semester are known as yearlings, and after the one year mark they are called Old Cadets. Cadets also earn Junior or Senior Army ROTC positions outside of the Corps, although starting in the Fall of 2022 school year, Junior ROTC ranks and Corps ranks will be integrated. College and High School were separated in the Corps and in two different barracks starting in the fall of 2022 as well, except at the regimental staff level. These factors determine a cadet’s privileges and authority and define social interactions at the institute.

The rules of the institute for cadets are codified in the “Blue Book”.

Rules are enforced using a system of tours and demerits detailed in the Blue Book, as well as on-the-spot correction. Minor offenses may result in simply correction of behaviour or disciplinary measures like physical activity, often push-ups. A tour is simply one full hour of marching in uniform with a rifle. Cadets with excessive demerits may be put on disciplinary probation, in which many of their privileges are taken away. Similarly, cadets who fail to meet standards of academic performance are put on academic probation, in which their privileges are largely revoked. There is also Honour probation administered by the NMMI Honour Board for offenses related to violations of the NMMI Honour Code. Punishment at the institute is strict and quickly administered by the cadre and staff of the institute when regulations are not followed. Leaving post is generally only authorised on weekends, holidays and during family visits.

All cadets live “on-post” (on-campus) in one of the two barracks. Services provided for Cadets include housing, the Mail Room, a Barber Shop (free to cadets), the PX restaurant, Bates Dining Facility, Reveille Coffee Shop, Game Room, Cadet Store, Laundry and Dry-Cleaning service, self-serve laundromat, Tailors, chapel services, infirmary, and cadet counselling centre. There is also a bowling alley, but it is currently under renovation.

The Commandant and Dean of Students is Colonel Thomas Tate, who leads a group of staff that advises the leaders in the corps of cadets, and is responsible for cadet life at the Institute.


The football team, the Broncos, competes in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference with six Texas schools and one Oklahoma school. They are coached by head coach Kurt Taufa’asau, a former NFL pro, alumnus of the Institute, and the Bronco Team. He won the American Community College Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year in addition to NJCAA Coach of the Year and SWJCFC Coach of the Year. They won the 2021 NJCAA National football championship game, which was broadcast nationwide on CBS. Its other sports compete in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference. Their women’s college volleyball team, coached by Shelby Fortchner, also competes in the NJCAA and were national runner-ups in the 2021-2022 season. They also have college golf, tennis, cross country, baseball and basketball teams at the NJCAA level, that compete under the Bronco name.

Their High School sports mascot is the Colts, and they compete in various divisions and districts in the NMAA (New Mexico Activities Association), including football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming and diving, golf, basketball, baseball, cross country, and track and field competing with other New Mexico High Schools in the region.

Athletic facilities include: The newly renovated Cahoon Armory, Stapp Parade Field/Soccer Field, Godfrey Athletic Centre, NMMI Ballpark, NMMI Football Field, Gene Hardman Memorial Tennis Courts, the NMMI Golf Course, the Outdoor Fitness Factory, and the Sports Medicine Facility.

The Athletic Director since July 2014 is NMMI Colonel Jose Barron. He was named the NJCAA Athletic Director of the Year in April 2022.

Notable Alumni

  • Link Abrams, professional basketball player
  • Wilson Alvarez, professional football player
  • Bobby Baldock, US federal appellate judge (Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals)
  • Ernst Bertner, first president of the Texas Medical Centre
  • Norman E. Brinker, founder of Brinker International
  • Matt Coates, professional football player
  • Charles A. Coulombe, writer and historian
  • William “Billy Jack” Cox, public interest attorney, author and political activist
  • Bill Daniels, cable television pioneer
  • Carlo D’Este, US Army lieutenant colonel, military historian
  • Sam Donaldson, news anchor for ABC News
  • Julian Ewell, US Army lieutenant general
  • Taylor Force, soldier after whom the Taylor Force Act was named
  • William J. Gray, New Mexico House of Representatives member, Senior Vice President of Navajo Refining Company and Holly Corporation
  • Conrad Hamilton, professional football player
  • Ira B. Harkey Jr., awarded the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing
  • Joe Hernandez, professional football player
  • Conrad Hilton, founder of the Hilton Hotel chain
  • Conrad Hilton Jr., socialite
  • Paul Horgan, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author
  • Peter Hurd, artist, painted the presidential portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Jessica Jaymes, pornographic actress
  • Victor Lownes, Playboy Clubs executive
  • John C. Morgan, pilot and Medal of Honour recipient of World War II
  • Greg Morris, professional football player
  • Hal Mumme, collegiate football coach
  • Pat O’Rourke, politician
  • Guillermo Padrés Elías, governor of Sonora, Mexico
  • Anthony Principi, fourth US Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • Bill Purifoy, professional football player
  • Chuck Roberts, news anchor for CNN Headline News
  • Dave Sherer, professional football player
  • Blair Smith, professional football player
  • Joe Smith, professional football player
  • Roger Staubach, professional football player, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • G. Harry Stine, sci-fi writer, model rocketry pioneer
  • Casey Urlacher, professional football player, brother of Brian Urlacher
  • Tim Van Galder, professional football player
  • Edwin Walker, US Army major general
  • Frank D. White, governor of Arkansas
  • Owen Wilson, actor

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