New Mexico Highlands University

Founded in 1893 as New Mexico Normal at Las Vegas


1899 – The first library in Normal Hall

Constructed in the Romanesque style of local sandstone, Normal Hall was the first building of the Normal University (later New Mexico Highlands University) and housed classes, administration, as well as the university’s first library. The building was renamed Springer Hall in 1919 in honor of Frank Springer, attorney and president of the university regents in 1897.


1936 – Rodgers Library and  Administration

This new building, designed by architect John Gaw Meem, was dedicated in April 1937. The library occupied the entire second floor while the university president and other administrative offices were located on the first floor. Students formed a line and passed books from hand-to-hand to move many of the books from Springer Hall to the new location. The building was named in honor of Tom G. Rodgers, professor of mathematics and academic dean at the Normal University.

1966 – Thomas C. Donnelly LibraryThe new 23,700 square foot library, designed by Robert Walters, was made of “concrete, steel, stone and glass.” The architect created this three-story building to be “seen, touched, walked under and climbed through” at a cost of $1.2 million. When the new library first opened, it held a collection of 110,000 items. The building was named in honor of Thomas C. Donnelly, president of New Mexico Highlands University (1952 -1970).


1996 – The current Thomas C. Donnelly Library 

An addition increased the square footage from 23,700 to 53,500 and now holds a book collection of almost 200,000 volumes. The university regents asked L. Richard Dawson from Van H. Gilbert Architects to include the Romanesque style in the design.

Information about the library from
The Library Book by Cate M. Fitzmaurice
copyright © 1997 by New Mexico Highlands University.