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NMSU to host 85th birthday bash for Barbara "Mother" Hubbard Saturday

Barbara "Mother" Hubbard has worn many different hats in the Las Cruces community over the years, but on July 14, she will likely be wearing a party hat - the perfect fashion statement for her 85th Birthday Bash Celebration.

This is a head-and-shoulders photo of Barbara "Mother" Hubbard, who will be honored by NMSU on Saturday, July 14, with an 85th Birthday Bash Celebration.
Barbara "Mother" Hubbard, former Pan American Center director of special events, will be honored by the NMSU and Las Cruces communities with an 85th birthday bash July 14 at the Pan American Center. (Courtesy photo)

Hubbard is the former New Mexico State University Pan American Center director of special events, but also has served the area as a physical education teacher and cheerleading coach at NMSU, a biology teacher at Las Cruces High School and a physical education teacher at Mayfield High School.

Hubbard retired from NMSU in 1998, but continues to serve as the American Collegiate Talent Showcase (ACTS) executive director, a position that she has held since 1978. ACTS works to raise scholarships for performing arts college students on-stage and behind-the-scenes, and is a search for college students to display their talents in the performing arts field.

"I can remember all of the kids," Hubbard said, speaking of the students she's mentored over the years, as a teacher or through ACTS. "They're our future. How they think, what they believe...will affect our future. I remember them all."

Many of her former students still keep in touch and some visit her at home, where current students often work with Hubbard.

"They come out to the house, but I'm not sure they're learning much," she said. "But this is the fun part - I get to share their growing experience. It keeps me healthy and moving."

During her years working at the Pan American Center, Hubbard brought in acts from Bill Cosby and Bob Hope to U2 and George Strait. Cosby was the first big act in 1969, after Hubbard started thinking about how to fill the Pan American Center when it would otherwise stand empty and unused. She realized that the Las Cruces community should capitalize on its location between Dallas and Phoenix to attract entertainers to play here while traveling between the two larger cities.

Her work has allowed generations of music fans in the Las Cruces area to experience first-rate shows without the trouble or expense of traveling to a larger city.

Hubbard and her late husband, Peirce, created a scholarship endowment for NMSU called the Barbara and Peirce Hubbard Scholarship Endowment, one of 14 she has established at NMSU. Hubbard also has helped to establish many other endowments at other schools, many with the assistance of some of the stars she first booked at the Pan American Center.

To say that Hubbard is well-known and loved in this community would be an understatement.

"I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of good friends," Hubbard said. "And, I'm not going to call them 'old friends' because I think I've got some seniority on most of them."

If you don't know Barbara "Mother" Hubbard now, odds are that you will if you join Hubbard and her many friends for an evening of fun and surprises at the Pan American Center on Saturday, July 14, for her 85th Birthday Bash Celebration.

The VIP reception and dinner will begin at 5 p.m. at the Pan American Center. Tickets are still available through Friday for $85 each by calling Shacoy Parra at the Pan American Center at 575-646-4413 or by visiting www.aggieathleticclub.com/barbsbday. A birthday celebration program and dance follow the dinner; doors open at 7 p.m. and the event starts at 7:30 p.m. The dance will feature Las Cruces' own The Liars; Brennin Hunt, one of the final eight male contestants for the X Factor television show; and Dennis D'Amico, Broadway producer and entertainer. This portion of the evening is free and open to the public. For general information visit http://wix.com/motherhubbard85bday/birthday or contact http://panam.nmsu.edu.

Net proceeds will benefit the tax deductible Barbara and Peirce Hubbard Scholarship Endowment at New Mexico State University.