The University of New Mexico celebrates its annual Spring Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 13 at 9 a.m. at University Arena, The Pit. Approximately 2,900 students will graduate as part of the institution’s 2023 Spring Commencement.

Commencement is a time for celebration, recognition and reflection. It’s a tradition that marks the intersection of the past and the future. The commencement ceremony honors all doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree candidates from all schools, colleges, branch campuses and degree-granting programs.

Approximately 2,937 students are projected to receive degrees from UNM’s Albuquerque and Extended University campuses, as follows: 1847 bachelor’s degrees, 682 master’s degrees, 72 doctorates, 88 juris doctorates, 89 medical doctorates, 64 pharmacy doctorates, 91 graduate certificates and education specialists. An official degree count is determined following commencement. 

At UNM-Gallup, 120 associate degrees and 46 certificates are projected to be awarded; at Los Alamos, 32 associate degrees and 20 certificates; at Taos, 29 associate degrees and 54 certificates; and at Valencia, 58 associate degrees and 36 certificates. 

An official degree count is determined following commencement.

Additionally, UNM will live-stream the ceremony on its Facebook and YouTube pages, and on

Event Order
The UNM Brass Choir, under Visiting Director of Band and Conductor Brett Penshore, will perform pre-ceremony music and the processional. Following the National Anthem, sung by UNM Vocal Performance major Garrett Medlock, and the Presentation of Colors by the UNM Color Guard, UNM President Garnett S. Stokes will provide a Welcome to begin the 2023 commencement exercises.

The keynote address will be presented by Lt. Gov. Howie Morales. Prior to becoming the state’s 30th Lieutenant Governor, he served in the New Mexico Senate for 11 years on the influential State Legislative Finance Committee. A native of Silver City, where he still resides with his two children, Morales earned a Ph.D. in Education from New Mexico State University.

Each year, one of the special honors awarded during the commencement ceremony is the Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize recognizing the highest level of academic excellence among UNM’s doctoral students. The Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize was established as a permanent memorial to the late Tom L. Popejoy, president of The University of New Mexico from 1948 to 1968. The award recognizes and encourages the highest level of academic excellence.

This spring, the award will be presented to Dr. Suzanne McLeod for her dissertation, "'Maa-Multh-Nii People Who Came Floating In': Analogues between Nuu-chah-nulth and Tlingit with Spanish Colonial Expeditions in the Eighteenth Century." The dissertation examines the parallels of culture, governance, aesthetics, and society between Spanish Colonial explorers and the Nuu-chah-nulth and Tlingit nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

A book chapter on a select aspect of her dissertation is set to be published by the University of Manitoba Press in the next year or so. McLeod is an Assistant Professor at the School of Art, University of Manitoba, a tenure-track position that focuses on the art histories and cultures of First Nations and Inuit people in North America.

Various groups will also provide greetings as part of the ceremony including (in order):

Board of Regents’ Greeting
Kim Sanchez-Rael, chair, UNM Board of Regents

ASUNM Greeting
Ian May, president, Associated Students of The University of New Mexico (ASUNM)

GPSA Greeting
Shaikh Ahmad, president, Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Keynote Address
Lt. Gov. Howie Morales

Posthumous Honorary Degree: Ricardo Montalbán
Garnett S. Stokes, UNM president

Recognition of Graduates with Distinction
Garnett S. Stokes, UNM president

Popejoy Dissertation Prize
Awarded to Dr. Suzanne McLeod

Alumni Emeriti Recognition

Remarks from Alumni Association
Amy Miller, president, UNM Alumni Association

Conferring Degrees in Course
Recognition of Doctoral and Terminal Degree candidates
Recognition of Master’s Degree candidates
Recognition of Undergraduate Degree candidates

Tassel Ceremony
Garnett S. Stokes, UNM president

Alma Mater
Garrett Medlock, UNM Vocal Performance major

Mariachi Tenampa

For more information on UNM's 2022 Commencement, including the Spring 2023 Graduation Livestream and stories of Inspiring Graduates visit Class of 2023.