On Sunday, January 15, 2023, Author and Historian John Taylor spoke on his recent book “The School on the Bluff, A History of the University of Albuquerque“. The program was held at the Albuquerque Museum at 2000 Mountain Rd. NW in Old Town Albuquerque.
The University of Albuquerque began in 1921 as a small Catholic teachers’ college occupying part of an orphanage. It grew in both size and scope, first moving to a former Catholic boys’ school, and then to its final location on Albuquerque’s then-barren West Mesa. Over the years it rode an ideological and financial roller coaster until its final demise in 1986.
This book traces the history of the school from its foundational background in territorial New Mexico through its halcyon years in the 1950s and 1960s and into its struggles with finances and direction from its focused purpose as a teachers’ college for Franciscan nuns to an institution with a significant curriculum devoted to associate-degree occupational training.
The school had 21 presidents—both religious and lay, with 9 in the last nineteen years alone. The book examines each of these administrations, the challenges they faced, and the disparate solutions that were applied.
John Taylor earned a Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering from Stanford University, served as a nuclear submarine officer, and worked at Sandia National Laboratories for 35 years prior to his retirement in 2010. While at Sandia, he worked in analysis of transportation of radioactive material, in evaluation of nuclear weapon safety, in arms control and treaty analysis, and systems research in nuclear proliferation and has authored or co-authored 47 technical reports and papers. His last assignment was as manager of Sandia’s Integrated Technologies and Systems SMG Strategic Support Department. He an amateur historian who has written 21 books and has a particular interest in the Civil War in New Mexico, naval connections with New Mexico, and the history of Catholicism in central New Mexico.