Faces of CNM: Bruce Hann

Bruce was an instructor at TVI back in the 1960s and has proudly watched the college grow into what it is today
May 25, 2021

CNM, which was originally called Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI), first opened in 1965 with 150 students. Authorized by the New Mexico Legislature and approved by district voters, TVI was created to provide workforce training for local residents. 

One of the first instructors to join the school was Bruce Hann, who came in 1966 at the age of 29 to teach Business English to secretaries. At the time, he was the only full-time English instructor, and one of just 60 or so instructors at the entire school. 

Today, Bruce who’s 84 old, says he’s enormously proud of what TVI, now CNM, has become. Recently, he contacted CNM to provide us with a TVI brochure he had kept from the late 1960s for history’s sake. He’s spent decades watching the school’s growth and is astounded to see how many lives have been changed.

“I am proud, and I am also completely overwhelmed,” he says. 

During his time at TVI (he taught from 1966-69) , Bruce mostly taught night classes to a diverse group of students, including many older adults who were coming back to school to find a new career. TVI’s main office was an old elementary school, which is now the Louis E Saavedra Administration building on Main Campus. There were also a couple other small barracks-type buildings that were used as classrooms. The school didn’t have a library until someone from UCLA came to campus and started the first one.

Because there were so few instructors, Hann says they were a very tight-knit group. Hann and the others would regularly get together to play poker and they all went to a secretary’s house to watch the moon landing -- “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.”

They cared deeply about the students and loved being part of a new institution. 

“At the time it felt really important to be part of the TVI community,” he says. “We were all very serious about our jobs.”

Hann left TVI in 1969 and moved his family to Iowa to help take care of his mom. But he held onto a house in Albuquerque until 2006 because he had always hoped to return to teach at the school.

“I remember waiting for TVI to turn into a community college because I wanted to come back and teach, and we loved Albuquerque,” he says. (TVI was given degree-granting power by the State Legislature in 1986, which made it an official community college.)

Today, CNM is the largest higher education institution in New Mexico based on undergraduate enrollment, and has gone from one small brick building to one of the larger community colleges in the country with nine different campuses. Thousands of students graduate each term, and the impact that the school has had on the region and state is immeasurable. 

Bruce now lives in Denver, Colorado, but he says he keeps up with CNM news and will always remember his time at the college fondly. 

“It’s really nice to see what the college has turned into today,” he says.