Paul Horgan graduated from New Mexico Military Institute's high school division in 1923 and attended various colleges in the northeast where he further developed his writing skills and style. He returned to the Institute in 1926 as the librarian with an unusual contractual arrangement: he was given two hours off per day to write.
Horgan's first novel, "The Fault of Angels" was published in 1933. From that time on, he produced a book, on the average of, once every year and a half. Among his best known and most popular novels were "A Distant Trumpet," a historical novel based on the Apache wars of the 1880s; "Whitewater," "The Thin Mountain Air" and "Mexico Bay," which is about a writer striving to write a history of the Mexican war. His favorite subject, however, was his beloved native southwest. In 1955, he won both a Pulitzer and a Bancroft Prize for his two-volume historical epic "Great River: The Rio Grande in American History." He won a second Pulitzer in 1975 for "Lamy of Santa Fe," a biography of Archbishop Juan Batista Lamy, the anti-slavery, pro-Indian cleric who went to New Mexico after the United States took the territory from Mexico.
In the 1989 edition of "The New York Times Book Review," David McCullough wrote "With the exception of Wallace Stegner, no living American has so distinguished himself in both fiction and history." The difference is Paul Horgan's luminous imagination. His works include 17 novels, 4 volumes of short stories, 2 children's books, 5 biographies and his books of history. Along the way, he taught at Yale, the University of Iowa and Wesleyan University. In addition to the afore mentioned awards, he was awarded nearly 50 honorary degrees. Some of his original artwork adorns the walls of the NMMI Alumni Office.
He is most recognized by recent cadets as the author of the definition of "Duty" that is inscribed on the Bronco and for whom the library is named. Throughout his life, Paul Horgan was always proud of his Institute and was an example of Duty, Honor and Achievement.
-- From 1999 Citation inducting Paul Horgan into the Alumni Hall of Fame.