The invite is simple; join us for dinner. You don’t know where you’re going or who you will be dining with, but there is one thing that you do know—everyone’s a Lobo. And that’s exactly why the UNM Alumni Association holds the annual Dinner for 12 Lobos.

For the past 16 years, Dinner for 12 Lobos has brought together thousands of students, faculty and local alums in hopes to inspire conversation, connection and community through a good meal with great people.

“I’ve heard people tell stories that they went to Dinner for 12 Lobos and this great alum was there and they got to meet really great people, that’s why I signed-up,” said Lauren Dennis, a student at UNM. “I came here open-minded and I’m glad I did. It’s really valuable, too, as a student to see that all of these people have gone to UNM as well and to see what they’ve done with their lives—these people have had the UNM experience and built upon that.”

Nine dinners were held all over Albuquerque over the weekend, including a dinner enjoyed by Valencia County Lobos.

Local alumni volunteer to host a dinner in their homes in an effort to make UNM a smaller, friendlier place. Dinner guests come together as strangers and leave as friends.

“You get a really great, diverse group of people,” says Lisa Lindquist, staff member, alum and hostess. “Just doing our introductions was pretty amazing—the diverse things we’re doing as alumni and what our connection is to the University. That’s what connects us and understanding community is important. The University is a community as that’s something we really value. It’s something that we can pass on to students who will hopefully go on to host their own parties.”

Other dinners guests reiterated that these gatherings are a great representation of how “each of us defines all of us” at the University.

The dinners correspond annually with UNM’s birthday on Feb. 28. At the end of the meal, each host present their guests with a birthday cake complete with candles and a unique rendition of “Happy birthday to you-n-m.”

Other universities all over the U.S. have similar dinners for their communities with great success as well.

As familiarity continues to grow with the event, the Alumni Association hopes that many more Lobos sign-up next year for yet another celebration of our pack.