A woman whose impact and legacy in Las Cruces and at New Mexico State University is measured in countless lives changed for the better, Barbara “Mother” Hubbard will be celebrating 95 years of life this month and plans to keep giving back – whether it’s mentoring or providing scholarship funds to hundreds of students through her American Collegiate Talent Showcase program.
A press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 12, in her namesake room inside the Pan American Center to announce a special tribute and celebration for Hubbard, where she will also be speaking and taking questions about her extensive career.
Over the years, the ACTS program has generated more than $750,000 in scholarship funds for NMSU students. Hubbard is known for being an entertainment industry icon, and every penny she’s raised through all the concerts she’s promoted has gone to support various scholarships through the ACTS Scholarship Program.
“Barbara has also generated thousands more in scholarship funds for other universities around the country. She has mentored scores of students who are now entertainment agents, set designers, tour accountants, and tour managers,” said Rick Nezzer, event spokesperson. “She has also mentored ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, comedian Sinbad, and actor and singer Brennin Hunt, who starred in FOX’s ‘Rent Live’ and on Broadway in ‘Pretty Woman.’”
Hubbard, former NMSU director of special events, has helped put Las Cruces on the map as a destination for people to see great concerts, which boosted the economy and made it more robust, Nezzer said. Each show boosted hotel occupancy and restaurant sales and added to the overall quality of life for the community. During the 1980s and ’90s, NMSU had an exceptionally active calendar of events. It attracted students and became a training ground for those wanting to enter the entertainment field, whether it be onstage or behind the scenes.
Having a deep passion for NMSU, Hubbard is known for freely sharing what she knows and does everything in her power to help others. At nearly 95, she is still mentoring students and teaching a class in venue management as part of the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
“I just love to see the lights go on in the students’ eyes when they realize the opportunity that’s available to them,” Hubbard said. “Their excitement excites me, and I am thrilled that ACTS scholarships and my mentoring can make a difference.”
Nezzer said although her concert career and industry connections are impressive, it’s her commitment to students that inspires the most.
“She has brought in guest lecturers who are set designers for Aerosmith, a tour manager for Kanye West, vice president of guest services of the Miami Dolphins, and the general manager of American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Cowboys. These are the resources Barbara Hubbard brings to her students. She has also developed a complete curriculum on venue management that some consider to be the industry standard,” Nezzer said. “If you ask Barbara, she will tell you that her biggest accomplishment is her students. Everything she has done is for her students.”
Next week, Hubbard will receive the Charles A. McElravy Award from the International Association of Venue Managers, in honor of her extraordinary contributions to the association and the profession of facility management over the years. The association represents stadiums, arenas, casinos and theaters from around the world.