I have lived in Las Cruces my whole 32 years of life and I never knew why it was named The Pan American Center until my coworker asked me. I guess it never crossed my mind until now so I decided to find out. DO you know why is was named The Pan American Center?

Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

In the late 1950s the need for a larger on-campus arena at what was then New Mexico A&M had become pretty clear as the Aggies began to play many of their home games in the new Las Cruces high school 3,000-seat gymnasium.

As the school and its athletic programs grew, the tiny gym built in 1938 had become very inadequate. Lou Henson returned to the school in 1966 and the push for a new facility began and the next year the New Mexico State Legislature approved a $22 million program that included plans for a new arena at New Mexico State University. The facility's name was then suggested by former New Mexico State University vice president Paul Rader for its location just off Interstate 25, also known as the Pan American Highway.

And there you have it! I didn’t know I-25 was also known as Pan American Highway. The more you know.