Silver City – From WNMU: It was a true homecoming for Marcos Mendez. The 95 year-old recently visited Western New Mexico University for the first time since his graduation in 1938. WNMU was then New Mexico State Teacher's College and Mendez was one of only 25 graduates.
"I had a brown suit when I showed up at the college, I thought I looked really neat," said Mendez.
Now residing in Albuquerque, Mendez is originally from Hurley, New Mexico. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, he became a teacher in the Bayard School system when suddenly he was hired by the US State Department.
"One day the government showed up at my office," said Mendez. "They needed someone that spoke Spanish and said they would pay two times as much." Mendez specialized in vocational education. "I said I accept."
Mendez enlisted in the Navy and ultimately served during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. World travel soon followed with his role as a Foreign Service diplomat. Mendez learned seven languages while living in various countries including Paraguay, where he met his wife.
While at WNMU, Mendoza was a tackler on the football team. "Our biggest enemy was Las Cruces," Mendoza recalled of the team that was then referred to as Aggies "Frosh". While on campus, Mendoza and his family visited the Brancheau Athletic Photo Gallery where he came across some team photos taken during the 1934-1935 school year. "There I am," said Mendoza pointing to a black and white photo from the school annual.
For Mendez' family, it was a first visit to Silver City but a worthwhile one because of Mendez long-time wish to return to WNMU.
"I live in Albuquerque now but I could come eat lunch hear everyday," Mendez added.
Many more alumni will be visiting WNMU during Homecoming weekend, scheduled for October 24, 2009 when the WNMU Mustangs face New Mexico Highlands University for the "Warrior's Helmet."
To register for Homecoming, alumni can call 575-538-6675.