Contact Details

Head: Dr. Victoria Mora
PO Box 248, Montezuma,
New Mexico 87731-0248
+1 505 454 4245

UWC-USA at a glance


A USD $ 40 million endowment created by Shelby Davis that provides 50 U.S. students full scholarships to attend a UWC


Percentage of a 230 student body from over 70 countries on full/partial scholarships for the year 2016/17


UWC-USA graduates that have received a needs based Davis UWC scholarships to study at USA universities


UWC-USA alumni who donated during the year that ended 31st May, 2016


A global alumni network in over 140 countries

“My UWC experience made me a well rounded, curious person with the ability to think critically about global issues, In addition, due the diversity of the student and staff population, I was introduced to different ideas and beliefs, and as a result, I became more open minded and appreciative of opinions different from mine. My becoming more open minded and curious has served me well in my academic and professional life”.

Brian Almadi, (Kenya, UWC-USA, 2005-2007)

Chemical Engineer and Management Associate,

Brooks Instruments


UWC-USA was originally founded as the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West by Armand Hammer at the request of Prince Charles, then the President of UWC. Hammer chose the Montezuma, New Mexico location in the American Southwest, because of its remarkable beauty, proximity to immense wilderness areas in Northern New Mexico, and an architecturally compelling site within a historic region of the United States.

UWC-USA creates global leaders.   The school is a dynamic academic laboratory where students—who come from more than 75 countries and a mix of religious, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds—spend two years living and learning together. Through a robust academic program combined with experiential learning, wilderness experience and residential life, UWC-USA creates a unique community where students develop a deep global understanding and nurture a passion for positive change.

Over the past decade, UWC-USA students have represented over 140 countries.  Over 3,000 UWC-USA alumni are spread across the globe. To mark the school’s 30th anniversary, eight UWC-USA alumni invested in future students by contributing $1.75 million for scholarships—an amount that was matched by benefactor Shelby M.C. Davis to add $3.5 million to the school’s endowment. Philanthropist Shelby Davis has created a $40 million endowment that provides 50 U.S. students with full scholarships to attend a UWC every year.  Of those students, 25 attend the campus in New Mexico; the rest go to UWC’s around the globe.  UWC’s total endowment exceeds $110 million.

In 2007 UWC-USA was ranked one of the world’s top 20 schools* by TheWall Street Journal in its list of top high schools. The ranking was based on the number of graduates attending eight top American universities.  Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Brown are just some of the schools our students attend. In 2010, UWC-USA was ranked a “Top Ten Program” by U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy.

Three Unique Features

  • Community Service – Students perform over 17,000 hours of community service each year in soup kitchens, at the local residential mental hospital, and in local schools. San Miguel County, where Montezuma is located, has one of the highest poverty rates in the country.
  • Wilderness Programme – The Wilderness programme is comprised of extensive backpacking, hiking, and backcountry camping. The Wilderness Program at UWC-USA supplements the school’s commitment to preservation of the planet’s ecosystem. Students are introduced to the wilderness of the American West and offered training in ecology, leadership, ethics and wilderness survival. Students refine skills in leadership, collaboration, and self-reliance as they backpack, snowshoe and cross-country ski in the surrounding mountains.

Geographic Setting

UWC-USA is located at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. The area enjoys an average of 300 sunny days a year, and, while it snows in the winter, the climate is generally mild. New Mexico is incredibly diverse . Enriched by three distinct cultures – Native American, Hispanic and Anglo-American, as well as indigenous tribes such as Navajo and Pueblo peoples  – UWC-USA offers an intense intercultural learning experience in a naturally beautiful landscape. It is an important centre for Native American art and culture and our students are given an excellent opportunity to integrate with local communities.  The surrounding area makes it an ideal place for a diverse student body to learn, share and co-operate.

The terrain is mountainous and interspersed with areas of desert and high plains. The fantastic campus location provides students with opportunities to take part in climbing expeditions and other wilderness activities.

Campus and Facilities

UWC-USA’s 200-acre campus is located at the edge of the Pecos Wilderness, the southernmost point of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains outside Las Vegas, in Northern New Mexico. The campus is surrounded by pine forests and is anchored by the historic Montezuma Castle, which was built in 1881 as a luxury hotel was and completely refurbished in 2001, the Castle includes dorm rooms, classrooms, offices, and the Dining Hall. Other facilities include:

  • Six dormitories, named after the world’s highest peaks. Each dorm houses 25-40 students.
  • The Old Stone Hotel, built in 1878. It is now used for classrooms, the library, and administrative offices.
  • The Edith Lansing Field House, a sports complex that includes indoor basketball courts, squash courts, a dance studio, a weight room, and cardio equipment.
  • The Kluge Arts Center, which includes an auditorium, art studios, and music studios.
  • The Dwan Light Sanctuary, a spectacular circular building featuring 12 large prisms in the apses and ceiling that spread rainbows throughout the space.

In the Classroom

UWC-USA offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) curriculum. Alongside standard courses, the College offers Mandarin, German, Social and Cultural Anthropology, Sports exercise and health science, Music, Theatre Arts, Dance.

Outside the Classroom

At UWC-USA, the Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) programme is divided into three components: Wilderness, Community Engagement, and The Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict. All students participate in a minimum of two overnight Wilderness trips. In addition to backpacking, students may choose to take part in winter camping, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. All students learn day-hike basics as well as wilderness first aid and CPR. Students can opt to take a Wilderness First Aid certification course.

As part of the Community Engagement Programme, students have renovated an old church building, transforming it into a vibrant community center, built homes for families who wouldn’t have a house otherwise, help run the local homeless shelter, tutor elementary school children, and work at the local mental health hospital. Additionally, students serve their own campus through participation in work crews.

The initiatives of the Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict aim to equip young people with theoretical and practical lenses with which to constructively engage with personal, interpersonal, and community level conflicts.

All first-year students participate in each component during their first semester. In their second year, students choose one area to gain mastery in the component that best suits their individual learning goals.

Project Weeks include expeditions to the Grand Canyon, volunteer as the Zuni tribal reservation, wilderness leader expeditions in the Gila Mountains, study immigration issues and visit the New Mexico/Arizona border, study art at museums in San Francisco, study birds in southwest national parks, volunteer in local pueblos, visit local schools to have peer to peer discussion on HIV/AIDS issues.

The college has 20-acre Agro-ecology Research Centre.  UWC-USA has recently acquired a property adjacent to the campus which features a working farm utilizing sustainable agriculture techniques.

Short Courses

At the Global Leadership Forum (GLF), the College challenges participants to step out of their comfort zones. Through supportive education and deliberate community engagement, the course aims to harness the energy and power that youth have. Through the GLF experience, participants find themselves emancipated from the idea that they cannot do anything about the problems in their community.


Meet some of the staff members here.

Meet the President of the College here.