03 October 2013

New Mexico Insubstantial Sub-College of Home Economics, Alchemy, and Politics


The New Mexico Insubstantial Sub-College of Home Economics, Alchemy, and Politics was founded in 1925 as “The Sabino Women's College of Household Economy” by Francisco Velásquez of Sabino, New Mexico. The school's first degrees in Home Economics were awarded to five women in commencement ceremonies conducted in early July 1930. Its first building was completed in 1929 on land donated from the Valesquez Ranch Company. The first Headmistress was Annabella “Bubba-Ann” Eaton Mondragon de Velasquez. The name of the college was changed to “The Sabino College of Home Economics” in 1961 incidental to the enrollment of the first man in the college.
In 1963, forty-three degrees in Home Economics were awarded by the faculty of sixteen professors and the campus consisted of ten classrooms and one residential hall. Due to financial pressures, the faculty appealed to the New Mexico Legislature to bring the college and its campus under state control, against the wishes of the headmistress, which resulted in a heated and violent debate in the senate chambers. In 1964, the governor, being empowered by the legislature, ousted Mrs. Velásquez as headmistress and gave the management and facilities of the school to the regents and administration of New Mexico State University (NMSU). Josephine Crenshaw, an NMSU instructor, was appointed as headmistress that same year.

Under Mrs. Crenshaw, the school was initially marginalized, as New Mexico State University already had a school of home economics and plans were made to dissolve the redundant school at Sabino in after the 1966-7 school year. As the result of a vision that came to Mrs. Crenshaw over a squash dinner at the Velásquez Ranch, she formed new classes with the intent of making the puncturevine that flourishes in the area, commonly called the “goathead” plant, into a cash crop. Mrs. Crenshaw and the Valesquez Ranch Company formed Goathead Industries, Inc. as a private venture to capitalize on the dream. The regents of NMSU had Mrs. Crenshaw declared mentally incompetent with the phrase “she sounds like a medieval alchemist, trying to change goatheads into money!” and decided to disband the Sabino College immediately rather than seek a new headmistress to complete a more organized closure. The Velasquez Ranch Company bought back the college campus and immediately sold a half-interest in the land to Goathead Industries, Inc in exchange for stock. Classes were resumed and the newly re-privatized school leased the original land and buildings, earning another name change: “The Sabino College of Home Economics and Alchemy”, which became a subsidiary of Goathead Industries in 1969. Mrs. Crenshaw remained at the helm of the college until her death in 1982, when Sabino was acknowledged as the wealthiest private educational institution in New Mexico. The Josephine Crenshaw Chair of Alchemy and Home Economics continues to be one of the most prestigious posts in the field of home economics to this day.

With the death of Mrs. Crenshaw in 1982, control of both the Sabino College and its parent company Goathead Industries fell to the remaining stockholder, Velásquez Ranch Company, which appointed Bubba-Ann Velasquez headmistress for a second term beginning in 1983. Two months into the new school year, the disgruntled NMSU regents, robbed of what they felt was NMSU's share of the Goathead Industries and Sabino College profits, pressured the State Legislature to again take control of Sabino College and assign its management and financial portfolio to NMSU. A delegation of Sabino faculty went to the Roundhouse and successfully blocked the takeover and even won the College a hefty legislative appropriation to explore electronically-based “virtual” education delivery. The enraged NMSU regents prevailed upon the state to seize the real estate leased to Sabino College through eminent domain and gift it to NMSU in exchange for perpetual computing resources for the College and a new Lincoln Continental automobile for half-owner Velásquez Ranch Company. The transaction was completed in the spring of 1985.

In 1985, the college name was changed again to reflect the new direction that legislative funding had opened up. The “New Mexico Insubstantial Sub-College of Home Economics, Alchemy, and Politics” began its new life as a “virtual” campus by taking advantage its perpetual NMSU computer resource rights. Goathead Industries was taken public and sold off its remaining interest in the College to Velásquez Ranch Company as part of the IPO. By the time NMSU received the property formerly used by Sabino College, all they got was twenty acres of goatheads in the middle of nowhere and a hefty new computer services bill.

Since 1985, New Mexico Insubstantial Sub-College of Home Economics, Alchemy, and Politics (NMISCHEAP) has lived on as an independent, privately-held virtual institution of higher education housed on a network server paid for by New Mexico State University. At the death of “Bubba-Ann” Velasquez in 1988, control of both NMISCHEAP and Velásquez Ranch Company passed to the Cooperative Sisterhood of Sabino Home Economists. Although the Sub-College now only awards honorary degrees to deserving home economists, it still ranks as one of the most prestigious virtual institutions for home economics research and advocacy in the world. As most universities are distancing themselves from the term “home economics”, NMISCHEAP is proud to stand behind the name!

Official Team Name: Iron Maidens (for all activities except the speech team); Crones (speech team)

Official Taglines: “Watch Out! You don't want to piss her off!” “Skillet. Run. Hide.”

About Annabella "Bubba-Ann" Eaton Mondragon de Velasquez

Bubba-Ann was the illegitimate daughter of famed “wild west” gunslinger and lawman Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton and Gabriella Mondragon Herrera and was born on the Mora Land Grant of New Mexico in about 1884. Her parents reportedly met in a bar in western Oklahoma where she gave him an ornate cross (that later caught a bullet and saved his life) and he got her pregnant and skipped town. Gabriella returned to her home in New Mexico to birth the child and raised her on hopeful stories that her father would soon return and give them a wonderful life. In spite of reports to the contrary, Frank Eaton never set foot in New Mexico and never had any contact with Bubba-Ann, which may have been at the root of her legendary temper toward men and New Mexico State University, who insisted on honoring her absentee father as a mascot.

The nickname “Bubba-Ann” is said to have been given to her by a group of rough teenage boys, mocking her very crooked teeth. They apparently confessed to the name-calling after she had finished assaulting them and sent them crying to their mothers. The nickname stuck and the incident was the beginning of Bubba-Ann's reputation for being a crafty woman that no one wanted to cross.

Due to her mother's dying wish that she give men another chance, Bubba-Ann married Francisco Velasquez and moved to his small ranch near Sabino in newly formed Harding County. The land was unyielding, the living conditions were deplorable, and her husband was a complete failure as a rancher and provider. Ultimately, the couple was financially supported by Bubba-Ann's doiley-making cottage industry and fed from her expansive squash patch. One evening, after Frank had returned drunk from another “business meeting” in Springer, Bubba-Ann became so enraged that she beat him repeatedly over the head with a cast-iron skillet. Strangely enough, after this incident, conditions on the ranch drastically improved and the entire operation soon became profitable. Frank and his new Velásquez Ranch Company became one of the wealthiest endeavors in the county, though no one ever saw him in public again and Bubba-Ann was seen to use a power of attorney to handle all his affairs.

Rumor has it that Frank may have died the night he was hit with a frying pan because, less than a year later, the creation of a school for girls “to combat the effects of worthless men” was financed in his name and Bubba-Ann was appointed to be its first headmistress. When Bubba-Ann was brought to court in Mosquero several years later on suspicion of murdering her husband, she brandished the same cast iron skillet and challenged the defense attorneys and judge to stay coherent long enough to accuse her again. This is when the judge exclaimed the celebrated statements, “Watch out! You don't want to piss her off!” and, in light of her gunslinger heritage, declared a mistrial. One of the lawyers called her a “crone” during the proceedings and was promptly brained, resulting in a Sabino College speech team mascot and tradition of brandishing iron skillets at every debate contest.

Bubba-Ann was the headmistress of The Sabino Women's College of Household Economy and later, The Sabino College of Home Economics, from its founding in 1925 until she “resigned” under a provision of the state legislative act providing public funds for the school in 1964. She also served as headmistress of The Sabino College of Home Economics and Alchemy and the New Mexico Insubstantial Sub-College of Home Economics, Alchemy, and Politics from 1983 until her death in 1988. She never left Velásquez Ranch in Sabino, where she always asserted that Frank was in the back room of the homestead “sleeping it off”. People still say that Frank must have wandered off after her funeral when he discovered that he wasn't getting any more squash dinners or beer. He was never found but his supposed generosity will never be forgotten.