Letters to the Editor

Nov 3, 2021 | Fall 2021, Letters, Letters to the Editor

Even though I took on the editor duties at Mirage seven years ago and have been immersing myself in Loboland ever since, I’m still surprised again and again at the network of connections that spread like a spiderweb among UNM alumni.

Here’s one example. 

Deb Haaland was tapped to lead the U.S. Department of Interior earlier this year and, of course, we immediately started to plan putting her on the cover of our next issue. She’s not only a double alumna, she’s only the second New Mexican (the late Manuel Lujan Jr. is the other) to lead Interior and the first Native American and UNM alum to serve in the post. 

After she was confirmed and took on the agency that Lujan once described colorfully as trying to handle a “sack full of cats,” she was, not surprisingly, very busy. And her press staff was, not surprisingly, very protective of her time. No, unfortunately she could not carve out time to speak to Mirage. 

Then came the July 4th weekend and Connie Beimer (’76 BA, ’79 MPA), UNM’s vice president for Alumni Relations, was out for a run in Albuquerque’s bosque. She and her running friends made room for another runner coming in the other direction and one of Beimer’s friends said, “You know who that was?” 

Haaland, who is training for a marathon, was home in New Mexico for the weekend and out for her morning run. Beimer turned around, turned on the gas and caught up with Haaland. 

After Beimer congratulated her, she made a pitch for Mirage, alumna to alumna. Of course, Haaland said, she would be happy to make time to be in Mirage. After all, she said, “I’m a Lobo!” 

Within the week we had our interview. 

In boardrooms, the Roundhouse, neighborhood shops and, yes, running and hiking trails, it’s not that unusual to encounter one or more UNM alumni.

Part of the reason is simple math. UNM is a large university and it counts more than 200,000 graduates. But it’s also about who UNM graduates become. Hire a lawyer or an accountant, go to a doctor, vote in a local election, grab a local coffee or IPA and it’s not unlikely you’ll find you’re dealing with a fellow Lobo. 

In addition to Haaland, in this issue we’re profiling some fierce and accomplished UNM alumni — including two sisters who managed to get COVID vaccines in the arms of 100,000-plus New Mexicans, internationally known attorneys Nancy Hollander and Teri Duncan, one very determined Lobo football coach and our own Alumni Association President Mike Silva. 

Silva has a vision to make that alumni connection even stronger by pairing current UNM students with alumni mentors who can help them across the commencement line and stay connected after graduation. 

All the more reason to keep your eyes open for those unexpected Lobo connections. 

Leslie Linthicum

Photo of Leslie Linthicum

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