President Frank’s Weekly Perspective – 2.17.2014

Good morning.

Without change there would not be innovation, both of which are engrained in our university culture. It is why students come to our campus – a change of scenery, a change of intellectual environment, a change of perspective…the exciting question of "what is next?" We encourage our students and ourselves to get out of our comfort zones, occasionally losing sight of the shore, as this is what leads to personal and institutional growth, progress and opportunity. Change is how we as a university get better.

Innovation Academy a Path to Student Entrepreneurship
Last week the Bernalillo County Commission voted to partner with our Innovate ABQ by contributing $1 million in support of the initiative. Innovate ABQ will create job opportunities and help to improve New Mexico's economy, but in order to support this project we must include an academic component that will encourage students to follow an entrepreneurial path. The Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs is working with faculty to develop an Innovation Academy at UNM. This proposed program would establish a living and learning environment - a physical "live/work/play" space - where students from various disciplines would be immersed in a creative community to study and conceive solutions to societal needs and problems. Our people have the creativity and passion needed to innovate Albuquerque. Inspiring our students to take their ideas from mind to market and to become leaders in innovation is fundamental to progress in the 21st Century economy in New Mexico.

Future Home Harnesses Power of Students and Sun
"How can we change the way future generations live with attractive and affordable homes that harness the power of the sun?" This was the challenge laid before an interdisciplinary group of innovative students in the creation of SHADE (Solar Homes Adapting for Desert Equilibrium), designed and constructed for the U.S. Department of Energy 2013 Solar Decathlon. Students and faculty from the UNM School of Engineering, School of Architecture and Planning, and the Sustainability Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences, in conjunction with Arizona State University students and faculty, took inspiration from the desert to bring their ideas and skills together to make SHADE a reality. The award-winning house will be at Mesa Del Sol through March, and I encourage everyone to tour it before it is dismantled and travels to Arizona. An open house will be held on Friday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.

Celebrating A Man of Change
"I'd like my legacy to be that I tried to make a difference in fostering a better place for people to believe in themselves and their community, and to be an example by the way I conduct myself." – Edward T. Lewis, On the Record With… Edward Lewis

UNM alumnus and entrepreneur, Edward Lewis, was recognized last week by BET Networks and ICON MANN as one of the inaugural "ICON MANN 28 Men of Change," a celebration over the course of Black History Month of the positive impact and contributions of Black men on a global scale. As a co-founder of Essence magazine, Ed developed the publication into a vehicle for change in the perception of Black women, celebrating their beauty and intelligence. I am delighted to spread the word that he has been honored publicly for his trailblazing contributions.   

Commencement Ceremonies Designed to Honor Students
Commencement is a time for everyone to celebrate and applaud the academic achievements of our students. To create a memorable event that most effectively recognizes the efforts of both our graduate and undergraduate students, we will be holding two separate commencement ceremonies this May. Smaller ceremonies allow us to individualize programs with speakers and awards that are best suited for their different audiences. Our Spring 2014 commencement speakers are both accomplished Lobo alumni with incredible UNM stories. David Hovda will speak at the graduate ceremony the evening of Friday, May 16, and Lamek "Humble" Lukanga will speak at the undergraduate ceremony on the following morning, Saturday, May 17. Even if you don't have a family member graduating, you will want to hear their stories, and how attending UNM has led them to life success.

Have a great week and Go Lobos!