NMSU College of ACES Branding Ceremony


Zack Jimenez

Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, speaks at the College of ACES Branding Ceremony

First-year college students often feel like they are just another face in a very large sea of students when they walk into a classroom. Their professors have hundreds of students and do not take the time to learn every one of their names. This is very different for the students of the Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences college at New Mexico State University.

 All first-year and transfer students underwent a ceremony on Thursday, October 26, 2017 that initiated them into the college. This year marked the fifth annual ACES Branding Ceremony and took place on the lawn between Gerald Thomas and Skeen Hall on the west side of the Las Cruces campus.

Frank Hodnett, Ph.D., head of the Agricultural and Extension Education Department, got to “brand” the new students of the college with the Sam Steel brand, named after the man who would have been the first graduate of the university had he not been murdered right before.

“The Branding Ceremony started as a part of the ACES 111 class,” Hodnett explained. ACES 111 is the freshman orientation class for students in the College of ACES. “It started out as a way to help our students feel like they’re part of our college.”

It grew from just a part of the students’ final grade for the class to the full-fledged ceremony that it is today so that first-year student who are not enrolled in the course may participate as well. After the ceremony, students, faculty and all of those in attendance are served a barbeque dinner, provided by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

Chancellor Garrey Carruthers, an alumnus of the college (then called the College of Agriculture and Home Economics), spoke at the ceremony. Carruthers emphasized the sense of family that the college is known for having.

“[The College of ACES] seems to have it together,” Carruthers, who served the state of New Mexico as governor from 1987 to 1991, said. “There is a comradery in the college down here that’s been around for a long long time.”

Carruthers talked about the “cowboy code of ethics” in his speech before the students were branded with white paint.

“One of [the cowboys’] attributes that I think all of us ought to remember, is that they always rode for the brand,” he said. This means that cowboys were always loyal to whatever ranch they worked for. Being branded into the College of ACES is being initiated into a family. Carruthers wanted the students to take back from the ceremony is that, “You were once branded an Aggie, so you’re always an Aggie.”

The students were each given an ACES College t-shirt and were divided into their departments. The biggest departments in attendance were Animal Science and Agricultural Business and Economics.

Hodnett paint-branded the sleeves of each of the students’ t-shirts. Hodnett said the faculty at the ACES College tries to make their students feel like they belong to a family by being in their college.

“We mentor our students. We work with our students. We check up on them and make sure that if there is any help they need, we can do that for them,” Hodnett explained. “The main point is to bring together our students with the faculty and we are a big family, so we want the freshmen to feel like they belong.”

Facebook Comments