Fall in New Mexico is a Treat for the Senses

Fall in New Mexico is a Treat for the Senses

colorful hot air balloons at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Fall in New Mexico is a Treat for the Senses

Photo of President Garnett S. Stokes

Dear Lobos,

Fall in New Mexico is a treat for the senses. With the arrival of autumn comes the smell of roasting chile, the sight of hot air balloons on the horizon and the vibrant, bustling sounds of student life on our UNM campuses. It’s easy to be excited about the season — and about the future.

For more than a year — and even during a globe-altering pandemic — The University of New Mexico has been working tirelessly with an engaged university community to craft a road map for the future of our university. That long-term plan, UNM 2040: Opportunity Defined, has given us a chance to think differently about how UNM can be more relevant, more visible, and more competitive as we make our way toward the  middle of the 21st century.

We officially unveiled our plan at a celebration in the SUB this past May, with the help of some key Lobo leaders and the lively support of an engaged audience. As part of our plan, we’ve laid out five long-term goals to guide us along our path to excellence. I hope you’ll take some time to read the full strategic framework, but our five goals, briefly, are:

  1. Advance New Mexico – We look carefully not only at what all New Mexicans require, but also at the unique needs of our communities, and use that knowledge to improve the quality of life and work toward growth and prosperity.

  2. Student Experience and Educational Innovation – We create supportive, intellectually challenging, exciting, diverse, joyful learning environments, both inside and outside of the classroom, that will help ensure the success of all learners.
  3. Inclusive Excellence – We lean into our core values of equity and inclusion to expand opportunity, cultivate the potential of our students, faculty and staff, create new knowledge, and serve all New Mexicans.
  4. Sustainability – We ensure we have the necessary resources — human, financial and physical — needed to achieve all our aspirations, while protecting the natural environment.
  5. One University – We connect, integrate and streamline our distinctive academic, research, patient care and service components across all of our campuses.

As our flag-bearers and ambassadors in communities around the world, our Lobo alumni are some of our most crucial allies in advancing our mission and helping us achieve these lofty goals. Your engagement and enthusiasm will always be essential to our success as a university  — and with you at our side as we begin the work to turn our aspirations into reality, I have never been more optimistic about our future as Lobos.

Have a wonderful Fall, and let’s go, Lobos!

Garnett S. Stokes
President, The University of New Mexico

Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features


Bigger, Then Smarter

Bigger, Then Smarter

four ancient mammal concept are depicted in panes

Bigger, Then Smarter

Mammals have the largest brains in relation to body size among vertebrates, but which came first? New research that examined the assumption that enlarging brains led to larger body sizes in mammalian evolution found instead that body size was the first to increase, followed by bigger brains.

UNM Biology Prof. Felisa Smith, an expert on body size evolution and president-elect of the American Society of Mammalogists, was asked by the prestigious journal Science to interpret the new findings, which looked at the explosion of mammalian diversification after dinosaurs went extinct.

“But did brain size also increase proportionately? The study, it turns out, showed that it didn’t,” Smith said. “Essentially mammals got bigger and ‘dumber’ first. Once these body size niches were all full, then there was strong selection on brain size and mammal brain size increased.”


“Brains are energetically expensive, which means that if you had two animals of the same size, the one with the larger brain would require much more energy (food) to survive. Because energy is often limiting for animals, this means that other activities, and especially reproduction, are scaled down. Indeed, animals with relatively larger brains for their bodies have lower reproductive rates,” Smith said.

Fall 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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Shelf Life – Books by UNM Alumni

Shelf Life – Books by UNM Alumni

books covers for Shelf Life fall 2022

Shelf Life – Books by UNM Alumni

Sacred Bridge by Anne Hillerman cover

Anne Hillerman (’72 BA), who took up the Chee-Leaphorn mystery series after the death of her father, Tony Hillerman, brings the series into the serpentine coves of Lake Powell and the modern challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the marijuana industry in The Sacred Bridge (Harper, 2022). Lt. Leaphorn is still retired and suddenly acting frisky; Jim Chee is second in command at the Shiprock District of the Navajo Nation Police and wondering if it’s time for a change; and Bernadette Manuelito, his wife, is contemplating becoming a detective. The Sacred Bridge has everything a fan of the series could want: parallel plot lines with danger galore, side trips into Diné history and culture; and the deepening relationship between Chee and Manuelito. Yes, it’s a page turner, but it also offers the frequent surprise of perfect little sentences like this: “Driving another man’s truck felt odd, like wearing another person’s shoes.”

Valles Caldera book cover

Don J. Usner (’91 MA) has been carrying on a love affair with the Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico for years. Usner, a photographer, brings his cameras to the special place every chance he gets and has documented the landscape through the years, seasons and change in land ownership. With author William deBuys, Usner published Valles Caldera (Museum of New Mexico Press) in 2006. Since then, the nearly 90,000-acre former ranch has become a part of the National Park Service and named Valles Caldera National Preserve. With a new preface, this revised and expanded edition is filled with photographs of the stunning 13-mile wide bowl created by a volcanic eruption more than a million years ago. The reverence Usner and deBuys hold for the land is imbued in the more than 200 pages of this large format book.

Texas Place Names cover

Edward Callary (’68 MA) is a professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University and Jean K. Callary is a writer and editor. The couple live in Austin, Texas, and have an apparent affinity for and take an obvious delight in the place names that dot the Lone Star State. In Texas Place Names (University of Texas Press, 2020) they divide the massive state into towns and counties, of which there are thousands, and list them alphabetically. There are 66 entries beginning with LA alone, including Lazbuddie (named after founding merchants Luther “Laz” Green and Andrew “Buddie” Sherley), which you might have driven through on your way East out of Clovis. It sits not far from Muleshoe, named — you guessed it — after a mule shoe a rancher found in early 1900 when he was considering names for his ranch. In these entertaining and informative (nearly 400) pages you can divine the origins of Ding Dong, Telephone and Bug Tussel as well as Grit, Uncertain, Frognot, Dimple and Dime Box.

Mission to Mars cover

The name Larry S. Crumpler (’97 MS) is well known to anyone with an interest in Mars. The planetary geologist – research curator of Volcanology and Space Science at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History, as well as member of the NASA Mars Perseverance Rover mission team — is so connected to Mars that one geographical location on the red planet has been unofficially named Larry’s Lookout. So who else to write a hefty 300-plus page tome on the exploration of Mars? Missions to Mars (Harper Design, 2021) is chock full of maps and color photos and narrated as only Crumpler could, with intimate knowledge of the Opportunity, Spirit and Perseverance rover missions. “Mission to Mars” also serves as a professional autobiography of Crumpler, who began his life in the space age peering at the sky through a telescope in his backyard and honed his interest in space while he was a graduate student in UNM’s Department of Geology. Crumpler takes through the story of Mars exploration from his first job in 1976 helping to choose the landing site of the Viking 2 Lander to his place on the Perseverance mission in 2020.

Women of the Ivory Coast and Mali cover

Nancy Lensen-Tomasson (’73 MA, ’78 MFA) was an associate professor of photography at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1979 to 1996. In 1989 she joined a group from the Parsons School of Design for five weeks of study in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Her aim was to photograph women in their daily lives as she puts it, “revealing their communal, creative and spiritual contributions to their cultures.” In 1992, she joined a group from the Museum of African Art in New York for a stint in Mali, focusing on the cultures of the Bama, Bozo, Fulani and Gogan people. A lot has changed in Ivory Coast and Mali since then. Ivory Coast underwent civil war and Mali has undergone numerous military coups. Women cooking, dancing, tending yam fields, planting millet, weaving grass mats and firing pots fill the pages of Women of the Ivory Coast and Mali: Photographs of a Heritage (2021). In a foreword, Steve Yates, the founding curator of photography at the Museum of New Mexico, notes that the dozens of photographs collected in this book “stand as unique testimony now.”

Was it Spectactular cover

Anne B. Thomas (’80 BUS, ’83 JD) is 18 and just out of a long painful rehab for a broken spinal cord. Once again, she is in a doctor’s office for a complication from her injury, this time a urinary tract infection. The doctor looks at her file and says, “I think you need to seriously consider checking yourself into a nursing home.” It will prevent her from becoming a lifelong burden to her family, he says. Thomas is devastated and forms a steely resolve to prove him wrong. Paralyzed in a car accident in Spain in 1976, Thomas enrolls at UNM at 20 and begins to live an independent life that will take her to Washington, D.C., to work for the Equal Opportunity Commission and the World Bank. In Was it Spectacular? (Allison M. Yabroff, 2020), Thomas, who died in 2019, recounts her struggles and triumphs. In 1990, she returned to UNM and served as director of the Office of Equal Opportunity. “Ever since the accident,” Thomas writes, “I’ve listened to that voice inside me that guides me, urges me on, encourages me to try. There is no regret. The accident forged me, toughened me, drove me to achieve, to prove my worth. It’s been a good ride.” Proceeds of the book go to the Anne B. Thomas No Bounds Scholarship at the UNM Foundation.

Ramadan in Summer cover

Bruce Parker (’81 MA) has collected two dozen poems in Ramadan in Summer (Finishing Line Press, 2022). Parker, worked abroad with the State Department, and his title poem explores the push and pull of fasting during Ramadan in Islamabad where he worked. In other poems, he explores the transitions and impermanence of life. “A Blameless Life” is short and elegant: “I sit/and nap/ in the hot sun, /still until/ my dream dries up, then/ go inside. Indoors I wake,/dodge the smother of sleep,/put it off./Call me into the shade,/mine a blameless/ life when my acts/are forgotten, this age/not held against me.”

Thin Veil cover

Bob Rosebrough (’75 BA, ’78 JD) describes his adopted hometown of Gallup, N.M., as simultaneously wonderful and terrible. Raised in Farmington, another border town, but more segregated between whites and Navajos, Rosebrough strikes out for Gallup after he graduates from law school, eager to make his way in an entirely different milieu. In A Place of Thin Veil (Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2022), which is as much Gallup’s memoir as Rosebrough’s, the lawyer who will become mayor recounts the western outpost’s history, demography and geography as he writes about his own life’s path. Key to Rosebrough’s understanding of Gallup are some seminal events: in 1973 when Larry Casuse, a Navajo UNM student, kidnapped Gallup’s mayor hostage at gunpoint in City Hall and then was shot to death; in the 1980s when Gallup’s problems with alcohol gain nationwide attention; and during Rosebrough’s terms as mayor as he works for alcohol reform. “I find myself thinking that while some of the terrible side of Gallup is obvious to most,” Rosebrough writes, “the wonderful side is equally real, even though it’s less apparent to the outsiders.”

Mango, Mambo, and Murder cover

Miriam Quinones Smith, a dissertation away from a PhD in anthropology from New York University, is adrift in Miami, the hometown of her husband. Staying home with her toddler and trying to assimilate into the Miami social scene, she is drawn into intrigue when a country club luncheon ends with a tablemate dead, face-down in her banquet chicken salad. Mango, Mamba, and Murder (Crooked Lane, 2021), the first outing of Raquel V. Reyes (’92 BAFA) moves quickly and brightly, with Spanish sprinkled generously and warm repartee between Quinones Smith and her best friend from childhood, Alma Diaz, a fellow Cubana. When Alma gets arrested for the socialite’s death, the mystery swings into stride.

Attention Published Alumni Authors:

We would like to add your book to the alumni library in Hodgin Hall and consider it for a review in Shelf Life.
Please send an autographed copy to:

Shelf Life, UNM Alumni Relations
1 UNM, MSC01-1160, Albuquerque, NM 87131

Fall 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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From the Veep: Join Us!

From the Veep: Join Us!

UNM students walking on campus under fall leaves

From the Veep: Join Us!

Photo of Connie Beimer

When we describe the Alumni Association, we think of words like network, connection, sharing, support, enrichment and discovery. These words capture what we’re trying to accomplish with you and for you at the UNM Alumni Association. When you graduated as a Lobo, you became a Lobo for Life — an automatic member of our alumni association. And now we want to ensure you have the opportunities you want, whether it’s simply to be informed or to be actively engaged.

For those wanting to keep updated on the programs and work of the Association, there are two best places. One is The Howler, which is emailed to you on the first Thursday of each month. The second is our website, with up-to-date information on events, activities and opportunities to engage.

And of course, we know every Lobo looks forward to the Mirage magazine filled with interesting stories about our alums around the country. Our alums are doing amazing things in their jobs and communities. The interesting developments since their graduation are fascinating to discover and bring to you.

And now our biggest focus for this year is to get you involved in what we’re doing. We want you to participate, whether it’s attending an event — in person or virtually — or it’s joining a regional or affiliate chapter, a committee, or considering nominating yourself for a board member position. You could take advantage of our Lobo Career Network, which provides support to alums at every stage of their career. We’re also putting together the Alumni Business Directory to acknowledge and promote our alum-owned businesses. These opportunities and more are outlined on our website or you can reach out to us to find out more.

An here’s a reminder of an easy way to help the Alumni Association: When it comes time to renew your vehicle registration, order a UNM prestige plate. It’s a great way to support your alumni association activities.

I’d like to conclude with a special congratulations to our Alumni Emeriti. We enjoyed hosting the classes of ’70, ’71 and ’72 this past May at Hodgin Hall for a reception, breakfast with President Stokes, a tour of campus and concluding with the Commencement ceremony and special recognition of our alums. See our photo section for more.

To all of you Lobo for Lifers, we appreciate your support and engagement with UNM and the UNM Alumni Association. Go Lobos!

Connie Beimer
Vice President for Alumni Relations, UNM
Executive Director, UNM Alumni Association

Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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Climate Consequences

Climate Consequences

ice floating in the ocean

Climate Consequences

Taking a novel approach to understanding climate change, Paul Hooper, adjunct associate professor of Anthropology, dived into existing data sets that contain historical information about societies, including measures of complexity in language, government and economies. He reanalyzed that information to look at how societies fared during cooling periods.

“I found that societies were substantially less complex during the coldest centuries of these climate events. For societies in northern regions, cooling was associated with a loss of about 300 years of accumulated social complexity,” Hooper said. “The research shows that the success of civilizations depends on favorable climatic conditions.”

While Hooper focuses on cooling, not warming, his analysis published in Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution illuminates yet another potential disruption of changing climate.

“Societies based on agriculture, like our own, are productive within a surprisingly narrow range of climatic conditions,” Hooper said. “Too cold, too hot, or too little water, and productivity suffers. Complex societies have never faced the climate conditions that are now on the horizon, and they’re going to be a shock to our social and economic systems. In addition to higher temperature, precipitation will also be key. While some areas will dry up, others will receive more water due to higher rates of evaporation from the oceans.”

Fall 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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