BY THE POWERS that are probably not even vested in me, I hereby nominate George Fitzpatrick as Editor Emeritus of New Mexico Magazine.
No-brainer! After all, he was editor in chief for 34 years (1935–69) and is the one who made this into a publication worthy of receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, conferred by Governor Susana Martinez on September 23 of this year.
In his later years Fitzpatrick, who passed in 1983, had occasion to reflect on the legacy he’d established. In 1978 he commented, in a piece entitled “Behind the Bylines”: “Those hundreds of contributors over the past 50 or more years all deserve recognition. … For most of them it was … a ‘labor of love’ to write about New Mexico.” To that sentiment I would only add 38 years and refer you to Kate Nelson’s piece about all of this year’s awardees, We Art NM.
There you’ll find my response to Kate’s query “What’s next?” This seems an opportune moment to launch a new program called Subscriptions for Students: It’s our goal to deliver the magazine to every student in the state, from middle school through college. We believe the magazine has relevance to studies of history, geography, reading, writing, social studies, and, of course, the arts. We know that deep awareness of the state’s unique assets contributes to an improved quality of life for those who can appreciate—and share—what the state has to offer. And by learning about examples of successful New Mexicans who represent the state at its best, students may be inspired to succeed locally as well.
We’re starting this month with a small seventh-grade pilot program—Hi, kids!—but hope to ramp it up fast, with the help of private donations large and small. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contribute. Join us in the spirit of George Fitzpatrick, who wrote in 1980, “Whatever the future may bring, New Mexico Magazine has proved itself a leader—and a well loved companion.”