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NMSU to unveil historical sign honoring pioneer in education

WHAT: Official unveiling of a historical sign honoring the accomplishments of Maria Gutierrez Spencer, a New Mexico educator and national pioneer in bilingual and bicultural education.


WHO: NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, Spencer?s daughter Laura Gutierrez-Spencer and other family members, along with representatives of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, will also be in attendance.

WHEN: Approximately 10:30 a.m. Aug. 18 (ceremony will immediately follow NMSU?s convocation).

WHERE: Espina Street between East University Avenue and Stewart Street.

VISUALS: President Carruthers will recognize Spencer during convocation and at the unveiling ceremony. Spencer is considered a national pioneer in bilingual and bicultural education. She traveled throughout the state to help educators develop students experiencing language and cultural barriers, and used her personal experience and education to develop a curriculum for both native and non-native Spanish speakers through Las Cruces High School.

She was the founder of the first Bicultural Orientation and Language Development Program in Silver City, N.M., which focused on cultural strengths and the languages students brought to school while quickly developing skills in English. After winning national awards for excellence in education, Spencerīs program was moved to Deming, N.M., where the program became a teacher-training center for the entire state.

Spencer died in 1992.

The historical sign has been installed on Espina Street between East University Avenue and Stewart Street on the NMSU campus. The New Mexico Department of Transportation helped install the marker.