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Photo: Margaret McKinney/University Relations
Highlands forestry student Isaiah Rodriguez of Sapello, New Mexico leads the Cowboys onto the football field at homecoming 2016.

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands University’s homecoming festivities begin early this year, kicking off Sept. 8 and continuing through Sept. 17.

The theme this year is “Highlands Home Field Advantage – Blazing New Trails” in recognition of the the successful campaign the Highlands Foundation conducted to replace the university’s 14-year-old artificial football field turf at Perkin’s Stadium.

Highlands University Board of Regents chairman Leveo Sánchez, an alumnus, and his wife, Patricia, donated $500,000 to replace the turf. The couple has a long history of giving to the university and Las Vegas community. Other donors also contributed to the campaign.

Some homecoming highlights include the Sept. 16 homecoming parade at 10 a.m. and the homecoming football game at 2 p.m. with the Cowboys taking on the Texas Wesleyan University Rams. Due to the turf installation, the game location will be announced at a later time.

The parade route is the traditional one, beginning at 5th St. and Friedman Ave. and ending at the Historic Las Vegas Plaza. To enter a float for the parade, contact the Office of Campus Life at 505-454-3590.

“Our Las Vegas community loves parades, and we’re excited that our Highlands homecoming parade is early in the football season because the weather should be wonderful,” said Margaret Gonzales, Campus Life director. “It’s always fun to see how creative the campus and community are in tying their parade entries to the homecoming theme.”

A community decorating contest begins Sept. 8 with judging on Sept. 12. To enter, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at 505-454-3248. The winners will be announced during halftime at the football game.

“Every year it’s great to see the community come together to show their purple pride during homecoming,” said Juli Salman, Alumni Affairs director. “There are decorating categories for both businesses and residential properties. We especially encourage people along the parade route to get into the homecoming spirit.”

One new event on the homecoming schedule this year is the Fourth Invitational New Mexico Painters Exhibition, with an artists’ reception Sept. 17 from 4 – 7 p.m. in the Margaret Kennedy Alumni Hall, 905 University Ave.

A preliminary listing of homecoming festivities is online at www.nmhu.edu/homecoming The schedule will be updated as needed.

For more information about Highlands Homecoming 2017, contact Alumni Affairs at 505-454-3248 or Campus Life at 505-454-3590.