“To know no bounds is to be capable of affecting people and to have no limits.” – Anne B. Thomas No Bounds Scholarship
In memory of Anne B. Thomas, family and friends have set up the Anne B. Thomas No Bounds Scholarship to aid disabled undergraduate students from The University of New Mexico to achieve their dreams despite any struggles they might experience.
Thomas passed away Jan. 20, 2019. Her hard work and determination allowed her to live her life with “No Bounds” truly exemplifying the Lobo way.
Raised in New York and paralyzed at 18 after an accident backpacking through Europe, Anne reestablished her independence at UNM where she received both her BA (1980) and JD (1983). She began her career in Denver working for Arco as a “landman,” and then moved to Washington D.C. where she worked for the Equal Opportunity Commission during the time of the Disabilities Act of 1990.
She returned to her beloved Albuquerque in 1990 where she not only served as UNM’s Director of Office of Equal Opportunity and fought for the rights of others, but also was the “Voice of the Lady Lobos” volleyball team. Her work at UNM impacted the lives of many through Thomas’ work for equal opportunities. Among her outstanding achievements was the development and successful enactment in 1994 of the Domestic Partners Policy, which to this day provides equal employment benefits to UNM employees with a domestic partner.
"Anne Thomas wanted to make a difference, and she chose UNM as the forum for that work. A university can and should create and protect an equal opportunity environment, and Anne was instrumental in establishing that essential sense of community at UNM. In her tireless fight against discrimination, she was and continues to be recognized as a leader, and I’m incredibly gratified and proud that her work and legacy will live on through this scholarship,” said longtime friend, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
She moved to Washington D.C. thereafter and led the World Bank’s offices of diversity training and employee mediation disputes. After retiring from the World Bank, Thomas began a second career as an award-winning, professional storyteller using her experiences to craft compelling and inspiring stories which she narrated on stage during regional and national storytelling competitions. Her stories described her paralysis at a young age, her subsequent marriage, and the litany of obstacles she overcame.
Despite numerous health challenges and frequent hospital stays, she created joy and adventure every day. She traveled the world from Rwanda to Greece, not allowing her disability or other’s pre-conceived limitations get in her way. She was a champion of the human spirit and was the lynchpin of her family and confidant to her friends. Anne touched everyone she met with her wit, warmth, and kindness.
Anne was preceded in death by her parents, John Paca Thomas and Margaret (Bolgiano) Thomas. A loving aunt, sister, and daughter, Anne is survived by three siblings, John Thomas, Robin Thomas, and Marilyn Huestis, as well as many nephews, nieces, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, all of whom carry her memory forward.
“We are asking that the UNM family, that Anne adored, please consider contributing to the Anne B. Thomas No Bounds Scholarship fund,” said the Thomas family.
For more information on the scholarship in Thomas’ honor, visit Anne B. Thomas No Bounds Scholarship.