University Communication and Marketing (UCAM) annually compiles a Year-in-Review highlighting both its general and research news and feature stories across campus during the course of the calendar year. Below is a select list based on UCAM's Newsroom Analytics of the top general news stories of 2023 highlighting UNM students, faculty, staff and alumni accomplishments. Also included is a list of notable newsmakers in the Awards and Recognition section. Click on the headline to read the full story for each listing. The lists below are in random order. 

In addition, UCAM will also highlight the 2023 UNM Health Sciences Year-in-Review on Saturday, Dec. 30, and the 2023 Research News Year-in-Review on Jan 1, 2024.

UNM alumnus named ‘23 CNN Hero of the Year
Dr. Kwane Stewart, a University of New Mexico alumnus (’93), was recently named CNN’s 2023 Hero of the Year for his work providing veterinary care to the pets of people experiencing homelessness in California. Stewart has provided free veterinary care to the pets of people experiencing homelessness for a decade. He co-founded Project Street Vet, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to that work, with his brother Ian Stewart in 2020.

UNM professor strives to keep traditional dialect alive
The dialect unique to New Mexico and southern Colorado has survived and thrived for 400 years but is slowly being eclipsed as the elders who speak it pass away and the younger generations turn to the English language prevalent outside those pockets. Researchers like Associate Professor Damián Vergara Wilson, the coordinator of the Spanish as a Heritage Language Program at The University of New Mexico, are turning their attention to preserving and documenting the vernacular.

At age 83, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is in the headlines as Native American artist, activist
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith knew from an early age that she wanted to be an artist. Born on the St. Ignatius Indian Mission, she is an enrolled Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Montana.

95 is the new 30: UNM researcher embarks on new study
UNM Professor Dr. Emeritus Bruce Porch is 95 years young. With decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist under his belt, Porch’s extensive array of research, publications, founding new speech pathology programs and patient care continues to grow. It’s enough to make his own scrapbook the size of an encyclopedia. The accomplishments of this Speech & Hearing Sciences  icon span decades back, starting in the west.

Feeding, learning and giggling: UNM's baby gap clinic
The University of New Mexico is home to all types of learners. From 18-year-olds fresh out of high school, to retirees dipping their toes back in, to everyone in between, UNM has lessons and experiences for all–that includes students who don’t even know their ABC’s. 

'Enchanted Eclipse' delivers celestial wonder
It was billed as an 'Enchanted Eclipse' and on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 14, amateur and professional astronomers, and celestial observers alike gathered by the thousands on UNM’s Johnson Field for a spectacular view of the annular eclipse that formed a “ring of fire” when the moon blocked out most of the sun when it passed in front of it.

Revitalizing the Diné language for the next generation
A study by Professor and Chair of the Department of Native American Studies, Tiffany S. Lee, and colleagues is making significant strides toward sustaining the Diné language and cultural heritage. Her longitudinal study titled, “Improving research to understand the link between holistic well-being of Diné children and families, and Diné bizaad,” is dedicated to supporting Diné language revitalization and continuity.

Celebrating the art of mariachi during Hispanic Heritage Month and onward
It’s not just a song, an album or an artist. It’s not simply a genre, or something you hear walking through a plaza or a restaurant. It is so much more than music; it’s a history, it’s a culture, it’s a lifestyle. Mariachi, associated with an image of a small, Mexican, musical ensemble is a passionate tradition that experts say shouldn’t have a concrete definition.

UNM welcomes In-N-Out Burger to South Campus Tax Increment Development District The University of New Mexico (UNM) announces a new addition to the South Campus Tax Increment Development District (TIDD) that will bring a fresh and exciting dining option to the extended Lobo community. In-N-Out Burger, a well-loved California-based burger chain, will soon open its doors within the district, which provides an ideal location for its expansion into New Mexico.

Rainbow Ryders CEO and UNM alum celebrates 40 years of hot air ballooning
Rainbow Ryders’s hot air balloons have graced the skies of Albuquerque for 40 years, but years before Scott Appelman (UNM ‘81) founded one of the largest hot air ballooning companies in the world, he was a teenage boy ditching class to help a balloon pilot during one of the first Balloon Fiesta events.

Two months without a right to water: historic SCOTUS decision and the Navajo Nation
The word ‘crisis’ is hardly an exaggeration when you look at the state of climate and drought in the Southwest. It’s even less of one, when you’re evaluating water supply in New Mexico. Crisis is, unfortunately, the most accurate possible descriptor when you’re looking at these situations on the Navajo Nation.  

UNM research explores N.M. State Legislature modernization
Lawmakers often use research and study committees to help inform legislative decisions, but this time it’s personal. Two groups at The University of New Mexico sought to uncover the need and estimate the costs of modernizations to the state legislature that would include staffing, legislator compensation, and session scope and length. Lawmakers will weigh both individual reports from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research and UNM Political Science Professors Timothy Krebs and Michael Rocca as they consider changes in the 2023 legislative session.

More than historic: one-on-one with Navajo Nation VP and UNM alumnus Richelle Montoya
It’s no secret that newly sworn-in Vice President of the Navajo Nation Richelle Montoya has made history. Every time you search her name, you see her groundbreaking accomplishment: the first woman to take on that helm. Still, there’s so much that lies beyond the title. Montoya is a woman with a whole life of public service behind her. She’s a mom, a wife and a University of New Mexico alumna.

Going back in time and up in elevation: UNM's rare high altitude chamber
The sky is literally the limit for the Department of Health, Exercise & Sports Science researchers huddled up in the space next to Carlisle Gym. You may miss the bright turquoise door when walking by, but inside, lies one of the most unique pieces of history at the University of New Mexico.

Celebrating a legend: Tribute to Barbara Brown Simmons
The life and legacy of University of New Mexico School of Law alumna and trailblazer, Barbara Brown Simmons (BA ’69, JD ‘74), was celebrated recently at the UNM Alumni Chapter, but her impact continues to resonate. Brown Simmons, who died July 14, 2022, left an indelible mark on UNM as the first Black woman to graduate from the School of Law and the first Black woman to become a member of the New Mexico State Bar.

Survey finds New Mexico college students facing food, housing insecurity
UNM recently hosted the College Basic Needs in New Mexico Data Sharing Symposium on the University campus. Led by principal investigator Sarita Cargas, an associate professor at the UNM Honors College, a team of faculty and students conducted a year-long study that researched food and housing insecurities at almost every college or university in the state. The statewide survey followed an earlier survey of UNM students only.

UNM hot air balloon is the 'Cherry On Top' of this ballooning season It’s officially fall—bringing crisp mornings, the smell of roasted green chile, and hot air balloons by the dozens to the skies of Albuquerque. This year a new balloon can be spotted in the sky, Cherry on Top, the official University of New Mexico hot air balloon. UNM and Rainbow Ryders, Inc. revealed the new UNM hot air balloon on Monday, Oct. 2, as Cherry on Top made its first public appearance on Johnson Field on UNM’s Albuquerque campus.

Awards & Recognition

Two UNM students named 2023-2024 Goldwater Scholars 
Kelsey Adler and Melissa Rudden, have been chosen as 2023-2024 Goldwater Scholars, a prestigious honor only 413 students in the U.S. earned this year. The selection pool contained over 5,000 academically strong applicants, from more than 427 schools.

UNM’s Andrew Schumann earns prestigious Truman Scholarship
It’s three years in a row now that the University of New Mexico can proudly say it has a Truman Scholar.  For 2023, that incredibly prestigious honor goes to senior and Honors College student Andrew Schumann. Schumann was selected as just one out of 62 total Truman Scholars nationwide, out of 705 candidates from 275 colleges and universities.

UNM named Fulbright HSI leader for third year straight
The University of New Mexico is once again proud to be named a Fulbright HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) Leader for 2023. Each year, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) recognizes the strong engagement of select HSIs with the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international academic exchange program.

MacArthur Fellowship awarded to UNM alum Chacon for creative music work
Pulitzer Prize winning Diné composer and sound artist Raven Chacon, who earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in music at The University of New Mexico, has been awarded the prestigious MacArthur Genius Grant. He was given the award for “creating musical works that cut across boundaries of visual art and performance to illuminate landscapes, their inhabitants, and histories.”

UNM flamenco icon honored in Washington D.C.
A UNM and greater Albuquerque dancing powerhouse is receiving well-deserved, national recognition. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has named National Institute of Flamenco (NIF) Director Eva Encinias as a recipient of the NEA National Heritage Fellowship

UNM home to National Indian Education Association Elder of the Year
The University of New Mexico’s College of Education & Human Sciences recently announced a prestigious honor awarded to Associate Professor of Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies Dr. Glenabah Martinez

Associate Professor of History selected as Fellow of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute
This academic year, one of the Department of History’s faculty members is getting the opportunity to advance her research at one of the country’s most prestigious institutions. Associate Professor of History, Tiffany Florvil, has been selected as one of 53 people worldwide to be a part of the 2023-2024 cohort at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship Program.

UNM Architecture and Planning Chair receives Best of Practice Award
The University of New Mexico's Department Chair of Architecture, Chris Cornelius, has been awarded the esteemed Best of Practice Award for Best Small Practice in the Southwest by The Architect’s Newspaper. This prestigious recognition celebrates Cornelius' outstanding architectural piece titled "Otaechiah (Crane)” showcasing his exceptional talent and commitment to advancing architectural design and cultural understanding.

UNM junior awarded Udall Scholarship
An incredible scholarship and opportunity is going to a well-deserving Lobo. University of New Mexico junior Gabrielle Thomas has just been awarded the prestigious Udall Scholarship. She joins just 54 other scholars, who were chosen out of 384 nominations and 172 institutions.

Mathis to be inducted into College Football Hall of Fame
Terance Mathis, perhaps the greatest offensive player in the history of Lobo Football, has been bestowed the ultimate honor. Mathis was recently named as a part of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023. Mathis joins Brian Urlacher as Lobos to be enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. Mathis will be inducted along with a star-studded class next December at the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner.

Two UNM Architecture faculty win prestigious Rome Prize
The American Academy in Rome announced the winners of the 2023-24 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships. Two UNM School of Architecture and Planning faculty in the Department of Architecture including Assistant Professors Aaron Cayer (Historic Preservation and Conservation) and Cesar Adrian Lopez (Architecture) were among the recipients of this prestigious award.

UNM debuts new podcast titled 'It's (Probably) Not Rocket Science' A new podcast from the University of New Mexico will help make complex research topics easier to understand. “It’s (Probably) Not Rocket Science” (IPNRS), a UNM podcast production, will air biweekly on Tuesdays, starting today. The podcast will unravel the complexities of hot topics and pertinent, impactful research through conversations with esteemed UNM faculty, creatives and researchers.

Communication & Journalism powerhouse named Statehouse Faculty Champion
The University of New Mexico's Department of Communication & Journalism is now home to one of the first-ever U.S. Statehouse Faculty Champions. This national recognition goes to C&J Professor in Practice Gwyneth Doland, and comes from the University of Vermont’s Center for Community News’ first cohort of Statehouse Faculty Champions

UNM Alumni Association announces 2023 award recipients
The UNM Alumni Association recently announced the award recipients of its 2023 Alumni Awards. After hours of combing through countless nominations for outstanding alumni and community members, the awards committee selected this year’s honorees. The award recipients include Scott Elder, Rudolfo Anaya, Jamie Koch, Humble Lukanga, Wendy Greyeyes, Janice Ruggiero, Fred Mondragon and Hengameh Raissy.

UNM College of Arts & Sciences announces 2023 Teaching Excellence Award recipients
UNM College of Arts & Sciences interim Dean Janie Chermak announced the winners of the College's annual Teaching Excellence Awards. The awards honor A&S faculty, lecturers, adjunct instructors and graduate teaching assistants who have made outstanding contributions to the College’s instructional mission. 

Nine UNM faculty members chosen for the 2023 Women in STEM awards
Nine women faculty members at The University of New Mexico have been selected for the 2023 Women in STEM awards. Award recipients will explore how to reduce the number of Native American students with dyslexia, why some amphibians are more susceptible to diseases than others, and how to position UNM to be a leader in seismic imaging and environmental monitoring, along with other topics. Now in their eighth year, the awards have allocated $500,000 to 69 women at UNM.