Class Notes – Spring 2022

Class Notes – Spring 2022

UNM graduates in cherry graduation attire

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The University of New Mexico Alumni Association
MSC 01-1160, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM, 87131-0001

Spring deadline: January 1
Fall deadline: June 1

Class Notes – Spring 2022


James V. Neely (’51 BSME, ’57 MS), Denver, Colo., has published “Beauty is My God.”



Charles M. Atkinson (’63 BFA), Würzburg, Germany, was conferred the degree of doctor honoris causa by the University of Würzburg for his research in the field of medieval music.

Michael J. Mullins (’69 BBA), Albuquerque, and his wife, Shirley Mullins, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on October 9.

Malcolm K. Shuman (’69 MA), Baton Rouge, La., along with his team of archaeologists, surveyed and uncovered a 600- to 800-year-old Native American mound, unearthing materials such as pottery, stone artifacts and tools for future study and preservation.



Virginia Sue Cleveland (’70 BAED), Rio Rancho, N.M., was inducted into the New Mexico Coalition of Educational Leaders Hall of Fame.

Anne M. Hillerman (’72 BA), Santa Fe, N.M., won the 2021 Rounders award, which is presented by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Given in recognition of her writing, the Rounders award is presented to those who live, promote and articulate the Western way of life.

Carla Damler Ward (’72 BS), Sandia Park, N.M., has published “The Tinker of Tinkertown.”

Jeanette J. Williams (’72 MA), Dallas, Texas, featured her artwork of cats and dogs at the Gallery With a Cause, located at the New Mexico Cancer Center.

Stanley M. Hordes (’73 MA), Albuquerque, along with his wife Helen Hordes, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 20.

Veronica C. Garcia (’74 BAED, ’80MA, ’03 EDD), Albuquerque, retired as superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools after serving 48 years in the New Mexico education system.

Martin J. Chavez (’75 BUS), Albuquerque, former mayor of Albuquerque, has been appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as the state’s new infrastructure advisor.

Walter Nygard (’75 BA), Teaneck, N.J., studio manager for Frontline Paper, was one of the artists featured in “This is Not a War Story,” currently streaming on HBO Max.

Joy Harjo (’76 BA), Tulsa, Okla., has become the second person in history to serve three terms as the United States Poet Laureate. She has recently published “Poet Warrior: A Memoir.”

Richard J. Bando (’79 BSCIS), and Jeanne Bando, Venice, Fla., celebrated 50 years of marriage on July 31.



Clyde F. Aragon (’80 BA), Albuquerque, has published “Behind the Electric Iron Curtain.”

Sandra Davis Ferris (’80 MS), Edgewood, N.M., celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary with husband Charles Ferris.

Richard G. Marlink (’80 DM), Princeton, N.J., is among the newest additions to the Scientific Advisory Board of First Wave BioPharma, Inc., specializing in clinical development of treatments for gastrointestinal diseases.

Darby L. Karchut (’82 BA), Colorado Springs, Colo., won the 2021 High Plains Award for her novel “On a Good Horse.”

John A. Garcia (’83 BBA), Albuquerque, is the new secretary of the New Mexico General Services Department.

Mike A. Hamman (’83 BSCE), Albuquerque, was appointed by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as the state’s water advisor. In this role he will be working to ensure the state’s water infrastructure is prepared for the effects of climate change and ensure the state implements responsible water management practices.

Audie E. Hittle (’83 BSEE), Aldie, Va., chief architect and chief technology officer at ManTech, an IT solutions firm, was named one of Potomac Officers Club’s Five GovCon Chief Architects to Watch.

Susan Musgrave (’83 MBA), Albuquerque, was named senior vice president of DOE Mission Support Services for Westech International, Inc.

Jesus M. Quinones (’83 MA), Albuquerque, retired after teaching Spanish for 25 years at Albuquerque Public Schools.

Mary-Margaret “Maggie” Brandt (’84 BS, ’90 MD), Oklahoma City, Okla., was named #VeteranOfTheDay by on December 16, 2021. During her military career, she received four commendation medals. Since retiring at the rank of colonel, she has served as professor and burn director at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Casey A. DeRaad (’85 BSEE, ’92 MS), Albuquerque, was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Infuence for her efforts in establishing NewSpace New Mexico.

Laura E. Valdez (’85 BA, ’95 MA), Albuquerque, was given the Pillars of Professionalism award by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Barbara Vigil (’85 JD), Santa Fe, N.M., retired as chief justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court after serving for more than 20 years on the bench and has stepped into her new role as secretary of the Children, Youth & Families Department.

Sandra K. Begay (’86 ASPE, ’87 BSCE), Albuquerque, was presented with the Women in Technology Award by the New Mexico Technology Council in recognition for her contributions to research, mentorship and community impact.

James C. Hoppe (’87 BA), Marblehead, Mass., vice president and dean for Campus Life at Emerson College, was given the Pillars of Professionalism award by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Kelly J. McBurnette-Andronicos (’87 BFA), Lafayette, Ind., marked the West Coast premiere of her play “The Hall of Final Ruin” at Ophelia’s Jump theatre in Upland, Calif.

Randall D. Roybal (’88 BA), has retired as executive director and general counsel of the New Mexico Judicial Standards Commission after 24 years of service.

Anna C. Hansen (’89 BFA, ’92 MA), Santa Fe, N.M., serving District 2 on the Santa Fe County Commission, was elected to serve as president of the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area.

Tracey A. Milligan (’89 BA), White Plains, N.Y., director of Neurology at New York Medical College School of Medicine and chair of the New York Medical College Department of Neurology, has been named “Westchester County Neurologist to Watch” by Westchester Magazine.



Todd Glasenapp (’90, MA), Page, Ariz., worked in the Page schools as a counselor for 22 years and is now working in community mental health as he approaches full retirement.

Sarah Z. Sleeper (’90 BA), Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., has published “Gaijin.”

Sandra S. Fahrlender (’93 BBA), and Robert Fahrlender (’97 BS), Albuquerque, have founded Hole in the Heart, a nonprofit promoting awareness of congenital heart defects.

Alice M. Webb (’93 BFA, ’03 MA), Wauwatosa, Wis., was Magpie Jewelry & Metals Studio LLC’s featured artist for the months of October and November.

Robert A. Lombardi (’94 PhD), Middletown, Pa., executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, has been named to the National Federation of State High School Associations board of directors.

Craig A. Herrera (’95 BA), Seattle, Wash., a five-time local Emmy award-winning meteorologist, has joined Fox News Media’s streaming weather service, which launched in October.

Heather A. Dumas (’96 BS, ’00 MBA), Littleton, Colo., joined Ardent Mills LLC as chief people officer. In this role she will be responsible for human resources, internal communications and people management.

Neil Flowers (’96 MA), Los Angeles, Calif., has published “Polyphonic Lyre.”

Lesha D. Harenberg (’96 BS), Albuquerque, teacher at El Dorado High School, received the Golden Apple Award. She has taught at El Dorado for more than 20 years and in 2011 founded a clothing bank at the school.

Matthew K. Montano (’96 BA), Bernalillo, N.M., began his term as Bernalillo Public School’s district superintendent on August 1.

Danielle A. Duran (’97 MBA), Los Alamos, N.M., is the new Intergovernmental Affairs manager for Los Alamos County.

Peter W. Gutowsky (’97 MCRP), Bend, Ore., has stepped into the role of Deschutes County Community Development director and will oversee the county’s land use, code compliance and watewater systems.

Dana M. Northcutt (’97 BA, ’02 MS), Indianapolis, Ind., long-time Commissioner of Officials for the New Mexico Activities Association, has begun her new role as director of Officiating Services for the National Federation of State High School Associations, based in Indianapolis.

David Herrera Urias (’97 BA, ’01 JD), Corrales, N.M., attorney at Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward, has been nominated to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.

Tyanna L. Lovato (’98 BS, ’14 PhD), Albuquerque, was named one of UNM Advance’s 2021 Women in STEM award winners.

Howard L. Kaibel III (’99 BUS, ’02 MFA), Albquerque, has joined M’tucci’s Restaurants as brand manager and minister of culture.

Marsha D. Kuhnley (’99 BA, ’03 MBA), Albuquerque, has published “Assault on the Afterlife.”

Mina Le Liebert (’99 BSHE, ’00 MS), Colorado Springs, Colo., was named one of 2021’s Women of Influence by the Colorado Springs Business Journal for her work in the public health field.



Bidtah N. Becker (’00 JD), Fort Defiance, Ariz., was appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom as deputy secretary for Environmental Justice, Tribal Affairs and Border Relations at California’s Environmental Protection Agency. A member of the Navajo Nation, Becker has become known as one of the nation’s leading tribal environmental justice practitioners.

Freddie J. Bitsoie (’00 AALA), Gallup, N.M., has published the cookbook, “New Native Kitchen: Celebrating Modern Recipes of the American Indian.”

Joshua Brown (’00 BA), Albuquerque, a graduate of the Albuquerque Police Department’s 82nd cadet class, has been promoted to deputy chief and will serve as commander of the Valley Area Command.

Alfredo V. Moreno ('00 BA), Beaverton, Ore., was elected to the board of directors for the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, the largest special park district in Oregon.

Virginia Urias-Sandoval (’00 BA, ’16 MA), Albuquerque, is chief of staff for the executive vice president for UNM Health Sciences. She was previously executive director of the Executive and Professional Education Center at the UNM Anderson School of Mangagement.

Briana H. Zamora (’00 JD), Albquerque, former New Mexico Court of Appeals judge, has been named to the New Mexico Supreme Court.

Christopher D. Arndt (’02 MD), Albuquerque, was named chair the Department of Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine in the UNM School of Medicine.

Patricia Dominguez (’02 BS), Bernalillo, N.M., has been appointed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development director for New Mexico.

Chad Ray headshot

Chad Ray (’02 BS), Dallas, Texas, has been named partner at the law firm of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, LLP.

Kee J. E. Straits (’02 MA), Albuquerque, founder and CEO of Tinkuy Life Community Transformations, has been hired by Bosque School as director of equity, community and culture.

Andres K. Calderon (’03 MBA), Lubbock, Texas, has retired after 20 years of federal government service, including positions as a Foreign Service officer for the Department of State, program analyst for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General and Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya.

Wade Jackson headshot

Wade L. Jackson (’03 JD), a lawyer with Sutin, Thayer & Browne, was voted the Best Corporate Attorney in the Albuquerque Journal 2021 Readers’ Choice selection. He currently serves as chair of Sutin’s Commercial Practice Group.

Megan E. McCoy-Vialpando (’03 BSN), Rio Rancho, N.M., has joined the Prebyterian Medical Group’s team of certified nurse practitioners.

Lisa M. Mercado (’03 BS), Albuquerque, certified physician assistant, was hired by Lovelace Medical Group in the Emergency General Surgery department.

Candace A. Sall (’03 MA), Columbia, Mo., is the new director of the Museum of Anthropology and American Archaeology Division at the University of Missouri.

Katie V. Williams (’04 BA), Albuquerque, associate director of the UNM Alumni Relations Office, was recognized with the Gerald W. May Outstanding Staff Award for her significant contributions to UNM.

Ryan M. Lacen (’05 BUS), Albuquerque, wrote and directed “All the World is Sleeping.” The film explores the struggles of a New Mexican mother struggling with addiction.

Erica T. Lujan (’05 BSED), Los Lunas, N.M., joined Lovelace Medical Group’s Westside Hospital Sleep Center.

Angelica M. Bruhnke (’06 BBA), Rio Rancho, N.M., was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Influence for her work as president of RS21 Health Lab.

Jai McBride Calloway headshot

Jai McBride Calloway (’07 BS), has joined consulting firm Exude, Inc., as a director of diversity, equity and inclusion with a focus on strategy, policy and training.

Amanda C. Chavez (’07 BSED), Santa Fe, N.M, was named Santa Fe Public School district’s new special education director.

Judy A. Liesveld (’07 PhD), Edwardsville, Ill., has been appointed dean of the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing after years of service at the UNM College of Nursing.

Elaine P. Lujan (’07 JD), Albuquerque, previously with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, has been appointed judge in the Second Judical District Court.

Jennifer M. Gill (’08 BBA, ’14 DM), Albuquerque, board certified obstetrician and gynecologist, has been hired by Prebyterian Medical Group.

Jesse Hale headshot

Jesse D. Hale (’08 BA, ’13 JD), a lawyer at Sutin, Thayer & Browne, has been appointed to serve as co-chair of the American Bar Association Health Law Section’s Membership Committee. He most recently served two consecutive terms as one of the ABA committee’s vice chairs.

Shannon E. Kunkel (’08 BA), Albuquerque, is the new executive director for the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, a nonprofit organization that seeks to defend transparency and open record laws in the state.

Melissa Nunez (’08 BBA), Albuquerque, advisor at CLA Wealth Advisors LLC, was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Infuence.

Aaron B. Zimmerman (’08 BS), Austin, Tex., assistant professor with the University of Texas at Austin, was honored with the Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Natural Sciences.

Rachel A. Balkovec (’09 BS), Tampa, Fla., was named manager of the New York Yankees’ affiliate Tampa Tarpons.

Sarah Sayles (’09 MA), Safford, Ariz., has begun her position as executive director of the Gila Watershed Partnership of Arizona, a nonprofit organization seeking to improving the water and ecological condition of the surrounding region.

Deborah R. Stambaugh (’09 JD), Alexandria, Va., joined the litigation department at Wisler Pearlstine, LLP.



Christie L. Abeyta (’10 BAED), Española, N.M., is the new superintendent for the Santa Fe Indian School.

Cameron M. Decker (’10 BAFA), Arlee, Mont., is educator and outreach coordinator at the Missoula Art Museum, responsible for developing art education programs and implementing statewide distance learning sessions.

Diana V. Martinez (’10 BA, ’17 MPH), Albuquerque, was recognized with the Gerald W. May Outstanding Staff Award for her significant contributions to UNM during her time with the Health Sciences Learning Environment Office.

Jodi E. Shadoff (’10 BA), Orlando, Fla., competed in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics respresenting Great Britain in women’s golf.

Sean P. Ward (’10 BA), Albuquerque, is executive director of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Matthew J. Armijo (’12 BA), Santa Fe, N.M., has joined the Montgomery and Andrews law firm in Santa Fe, specializing in environmental law, commercial disputes, products defects, construction defects, oil and gas litigation and personal injury.

Justin Greene headshot

Justin L. Greene (’12 BBA), has joined Sutin, Thayer & Browne as an associate attorney. As a member of the firm’s Litigation Group, he practices primarily in the areas of employment law and commercial litigation.

Jessica R. Martin (’12 JD), has joined Sutin, Thayer & Browne as an associate attorney in the firm’s Litigation Group, focusing on commercial litigation. She is fluent in Spanish, providing written and oral communication in Spanish and English for clients.

Claudia Sanchez (’12 MA), Albuquerque, has been promoted to director of marketing and policyholder services by New Mexico State Mutual.

Emily B. Allen (’14 MBA, ’14 MEMBA), Corrales, N.M., chief financial officer of Dekker/Perich/Sabatini, was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Infuence.

Grant A. Burrier (’14 PhD), Stow, Ohio, is visiting associate professor in the Department of Integrative and Global Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institutute.

Manon K. De Roey (’14 BA), Albuquerque, competed in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics respresenting Belgium in women’s golf.

Rhiannon L. Samuel (’14 BA), Albuquerque, executive director of Viante New Mexico, was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Influence.

Samuel D. Saunders (’14 BBA), Albuquerque, won the L&J Golf Championship, hosted by Jenning Mill Country Club in Watksinville, Ga.

Chanel R. Wiese (’14 BBA, ’18 MBA), Albuquerque, was named one of Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Infuence in recognition of her leadership in launching the Somos Unidos Foundation.

Noe Astorga-Corral headshot

Noe Astorga-Corral (’15 BA, ’19 JD), a lawyer with Sutin, Thayer & Browne, has become licensed to practice in the Navajo Nation. Astorga also heads Sutin’s Committee on Equality, which works to tangibly empower marginalized communities in New Mexico. He is fluent in Spanish.

Django Lovette (’15 BA), represented Canada in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics in the high jump and finished in 8th place.

Julie A. Morrison (’15 BA), Albuquerque, was recognized with the Gerald W. May Outstanding Staff Award for her significant contributions to UNM in the Physics and Astronomy Department.

Xochitl Torres Small (’15 JD), Las Cruces, N.M., was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for rural development.

Ryan Inzenga (’16 MBA), Zachary, La., has joined Luba Workers’ Comp as vice president and underwriting manager.

Aaron P. Rivera (’16 BA), Corrales, N.M., ProView Networks sports announcer, is the new play-by-play announcer at Fort Marcy Ballpark, calling home games for the Santa Fe Fuego.

Amalia Sanchez-Parra (’16 BS, ’21 PhD), Albuquerque, was named one of UNM Advance’s 2021 Women in STEM award winners.

Troy S. Lawton (’18 BA, ’21 JD), Rio Rancho, N.M., has joined the Montgomery and Andrews law firm in Santa Fe, specializing in federal taxation law, buisness law and legal writing.

Adriana E. Oñate (’18 MARCH), El Paso, Tex., was recognized as one of Mile High CRE’s “Movers and Shakers,” in honor of her achievements in architecture and design.

Christopher J. Pommier (’18 JD), Santa Fe, N.M., has joined the Montgomery and Andrews law firm in Santa Fe.

Brooke B. Sheldon (’18 BS), Albuquerque, received the Fulbright Research Award for the 2021-2022 academic year and will pursue research of the Portuguese dialects and their influence on the Lusophone world.

Alex G. Elborn (’19 JD), has joined Sutin, Thayer & Browne as an associate attorney in the firm’s Litigation Group. His practice focuses on commercial litigation, employment law and probate matters. He speaks and writes in Spanish.

Mingjie Hoemmen headshot

Mingjie L. Hoemmen (’19 JD), has joined Sutin, Thayer & Browne as an associate attorney. She joins the firm’s Litigation Group, where she practices primarily in the areas of employment law and civil rights, collections, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Thatcher A. Rogers (’19 MS), Albuquerque, received the Friends of Coronado Historic Site scholarship and a grant from the University of Missouri Research Reactor Archaeometry Laboratory.



Justin D. Armbruester (’21 BBA), Sammamish, Wash., was called up in Round 12 of the Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles.

Kristen Burby (’21 JD), White Rock, N.M., has joined the Montgomery and Andrews law firm in Santa Fe, specializing in natural resource and environmental law.

Ava Cohen (’21 BBA), Albuquerque, represented Israel in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics in the 300-meter steeplechase.

headshot for Amanda Cvinar

Amanda E. Cvinar (’21 JD), has joined Sutin, Thayer & Browne as an associate attorney. A member of the firm’s Commercial Group, she practices primarily in the areas of corporate law, intellectual property, public finance, estate planning and renewable energy development.


Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features


History and Heritage

History and Heritage

spring flowers with a campus building in the background

History and Heritage

Photo of President Garnett S. Stokes

There’s nothing quite as beautiful as UNM campuses in their Spring colors. Whether it’s the verdant, high mountain greens of Los Alamos and Taos, the stunning desert hues of Gallup and Valencia, or the vibrant grounds and gorgeous landscapes of Albuquerque, Lobos are truly lucky to stroll some of the most striking campuses anywhere.

Our grounds are made all the more stunning by the thought and design that has gone into so many of our buildings and facilities. For over 130 years, The University of New Mexico has been a work in progress, with facilities added or improved regularly to reflect the growing needs of the Lobo community, as well as to contain the latest new technology or to make our buildings more energy efficient. 

Across our campuses, we work to design and construct our facilities in a manner that makes them at home in their respective communities. At our oldest campus in Albuquerque, in fact, we still ask that our facilities be designed and constructed in a manner reflecting the Pueblo Revival style introduced on campus in the early 1900s by UNM President William G. Tight, and emphatically adopted by campus architect John Gaw Meem in the 1930s. As President, I have the privilege of living in University House, one of the finest examples of the Pueblo Revival style anywhere — so much so, in fact, that it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It’s this embrace of the Pueblo Revival style that gives even our most modern buildings a unique look that reflects the culture of our region and gives UNM its unique charm.

Intrigued? I hope so; it’s all part of our shared history and heritage as Lobos. And in this issue of Mirage, you’ll learn more about some of our newest — and oldest! — buildings, with some stunning photos guaranteed to make you look at some familiar sights with new eyes. And if it’s been a while since you’ve visited campus, this issue may inspire you to come back, take a walk, and take a look around again at a place you as alumni always get to call home.

The best thing about our campuses, however, will always be our Lobo students, faculty, staff and alumni who continue to make every day better and memorable. As we continue to work through the pandemic and press forward into the future, remember that it is your support and enthusiasm that give The University of New Mexico its truly unique character.


Garnett S. Stokes President
The University of New Mexico

Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

spring flowers on campus

Letters to the Editor

Photo of Leslie Linthicum

Do you know the feeling when you run into a friend you haven’t seen in a while and think, Wow, you’re looking great!

Maybe you’ve had the same feeling returning to UNM after months and months of COVID coop-up.

The campus is looking fabulous, with some stunning new buildings, some spectacular renovated spaces and meticulously groomed grounds.

If you can’t come to campus, we hope you enjoy the photos in these pages of some of the recent additions and renovations and a discussion of how a campus with an architectural identity so steeped in Pueblo Revival style is making its way into the 21st century.

Also inside we catch up with alumna Rachel Balkovec, who played catcher on the Lobos softball team in the 2000s and has made her way up the ladder of Major League Baseball. Since signing on with the New York Yankees, Balkovec’s career has resembled a hard-hit homer. She already had a number of “first woman” accolades before the most recent Big. League promotion: First female manager. Balkovec has been determined, patient and relentlessly upbeat, and we couldn’t be more proud to call her a Lobo.

At least two astute readers of Mirage readers caught an error in my letter in the Fall 2021 issue. In introducing the Q&A with alumna Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, I pointed to the historic nature of her appointment. And while it’s true that she is the first Native American to serve in the post, she is the third, not the second, New Mexican to do so.

The late Manuel Lujan, Jr., a New Mexico native, served from 1989 to 1993. But the secretary who slipped my mind was the quite unforgettable Albert B. Fall. Since we’re correcting the record here, how about a nice history lesson?

Fall, born in Kentucky and raised in Tennessee, settled in Las Cruces and became a teacher and lawyer and eventually a U.S. senator representing New Mexico. President Warren G. Harding putt Fall in charge of Interior in 1921 and just a year later Fall was charged with giving two of his friends valuable oil leases in land under his department’s control in exchange for bribes. The leases were in the Teapot Dome oil field in, Wyoming, which is why the scandal that drove Fall from government and into prison was called the Teapot Dome Scandal.

We’d very much like to hear your thoughts on the new website. You can email me at or

Stay safe and thanks for reading!

Leslie Linthicum

Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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Form and Function

Form and Function

a collage diamond shapes with newer campus architecture architectural

“UNM’s sense of place is unmistakable.”

V.B. Price (’62 BA) Author

Form and Function

“It takes more than the profile or outward appearance of its buildings to make a university, but if aesthetics mean anything in the intellectual development of students, and I feel certain that it does, then The University of New Mexico has an asset which gives it a unique position among the institutions of the nation.”
– Thomas L. Popejoy UNM president, 1948 – 1968

the inside of a large new lobby at UNM is depicted in a diamond frame

Unique and unmistakable, indeed. Among college campuses, which traditionally feature brick, stone and ivy, The University of New Mexico has always been distinctly of New Mexico. A visitor walking onto campus for the first time would never mistake her location for Seattle or Savannah, New Haven or Nebraska.

It wasn’t always so. In 1892, UNM was one building — a three-story red brick structure with a pitched gabled roof that would have looked at home anywhere back East. It was University President William G. Tight, who, as luck would have it, was a scholar of ancient Pueblo culture and a visionary, who began to build the campus that we know today. In 1908, he oversaw a remodel of what is now known as Hodgin Hall, adding beams, corbels and rounded stuccoed forms that are the unmistakable look and feel of adobe pueblos.

As Main Campus grew, each additional building adopted the same style — Spanish-Pueblo Revival — often at the hand of noted architect John Gaw Meem, who served as the campus architect from 1934 to 1956. In 1959, with the adoption of the Long-Range Campus Development Plan, the UNM Board of Regents agreed to preserve Pueblo Revival architectural style. The policy as it stands today reads:

“It is the policy of the University that all buildings constructed on the central campus continue to be designed in the Pueblo Revival style and that buildings on the north and south campuses reflect the general character of this style to the extent possible given the special needs for facilities in these areas.”

But form naturally follows function. And as the University has grown and education has become more technical, with laboratories, energy-saving and safety goals and many more students, staff and faculty, campus architecture has modernized. The goal is to preserve the original feel, not make new buildings larger cookie-cutter impersonations of the old.

aerial shot of campus in a triangular frame

“It’s a balance,” says Douglas Brown, chair of the Board of Regents. As he looks around Main Campus today, he is pleased to see new buildings in harmony with the old — not mimics but kinsfolk.

George Pearl Hall, the home of the College of Architecture & Planning along Central Avenue, is a striking example of ushering Pueblo Revival into the 21st century. The newest additions or major renovations on Main Campus pictured in these pages — Farris Engineering Center, which opened in late 2017; McKinnon Center for Management, which was completed in 2018; the Physics & Astronomy and Interdisciplinary Science building, or PAÍS, which was completed late last year; and Johnson Center, which opened this year — are undeniably modern but maintain common ancestry with the Meem style: flat roofs, low profiles, color-conforming stucco.

“I think it’s never looked better,” Brown says. Adaptation to the times even had the endorsement of Meem. “I get quite a bit of exhilaration when I visit the campus,” he said later in his life. “Sure, yes, they have all departed from the Pueblo Style, but people have to experiment a little bit. They have to have a little freedom to keep the campus alive. When you forbid these things, it starts dying.”

Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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Where There’s Smoke

Where There’s Smoke

smoke engulfs a forest road and an emergency truck from a smoldering wildfire

Where There’s Smoke

Woodsmoke from massive wildfires shrouded much of the West last summer, making it harder for people suffering from respiratory illnesses to breathe.

Those respiratory consequences can be dangerous — even life-threatening. But Matthew Campen, PhD, a professor in UNM’s College of Pharmacy, sees another hazard hidden in the smoke.

Thanks to a five-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a multi- disciplinary team led by Campen will investigate how inhaled smoke particles travel from the lungs to erode the blood-brain barrier.

headshot for Matthew Campen

Matthew Campen

“We’ve had wildfires that are getting worse and worse,” Campen says. “We’ve been concerned about the acute changes that affect the brain, like neuroinflammation and loss of the blood-brain barrier. What are the long-term impacts? Could it promote Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia?”

In research published online in the journal Toxicological Sciences, Campen and colleagues report that inhaled microscopic particles from woodsmoke work their way into the bloodstream and reach the brain, and may put people at risk for neurological problems ranging from premature aging and various forms of dementia to depression and even psychosis.

“These are fires that are coming through small towns and they’re burning up cars and houses,” Campen says. Microplastics and metallic particles of iron, aluminum and magnesium are lofted into the sky, sometimes traveling thousands of miles.

In the research study conducted in 2020 at Laguna Pueblo, 41 miles west of Albuquerque and roughly 600 miles from the source of California fires, Campen and his team found that mice exposed to smoke-laden air for nearly three weeks under closely monitored conditions showed age-related changes in their brain tissue.

The findings highlight the hidden dangers of woodsmoke that might not be dense enough to trigger respiratory symptoms, Campen says.

As smoke rises higher in the atmosphere heavier particles fall out, he says. “It’s only these really small ultra-fine particles that travel a thousand miles to where we are. They’re more dangerous because the small particles get deeper into your lung and your lung has a harder time removing them as a result.”

When the particles burrow into lung tissue, it triggers the release of inflammatory immune molecules into the bloodstream, which carries them into the brain, where they start to degrade the blood-brain barrier, Campen says. That causes the brain’s own immune protection to kick in. “It looks like there’s a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier that’s mild, but it still triggers a response from the protective cells in the brain — astrocytes and microglia — to sheathe it off and protect the rest of the brain from the factors in the blood,” he says.

“Normally the microglia are supposed to be doing other things, like helping with learning and memory,” Campen adds.

The researchers found neurons showed metabolic changes suggesting that wildfire smoke exposure may add to the burden of aging-related impairments.

Spring 2022 Mirage Magazine Features

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