Graduation marks a timeless ritual steeped in jubilation, acknowledgment, and contemplation. At The University of New Mexico, this ritual becomes a dynamic convergence of history and potential – a time for celebration, recognition and reflection. It’s a tradition that intersects the past and the future, embracing the state’s vibrant culture based on wisdom from all those who have shaped the past, present, and future.

On Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at University Arena, The Pit, approximately 1,500 students from The University of New Mexico will graduate as part of the institution’s 2023 Fall Commencement and become a part of the institution’s historical legacy. The commencement ceremony honors all doctoral, master’s, bachelor's, and associate degree candidates from all schools, colleges, branch campuses, and degree-granting programs.

About 1,522 students are projected to receive degrees from UNM’s Albuquerque and Extended University campuses, as follows: 1,023 bachelor’s degrees, 381 master’s degrees, 51 doctorates, 13 juris doctorates, 2 medical doctorates, 5 pharmacy doctorates, 45 graduate certificates, and 2 education specialists. An official degree count is determined following commencement. 

At UNM-Gallup, 88 associate degrees and 41 certificates are projected to be awarded; at Los Alamos, 19 associate degrees; at Taos, 16 associate degrees and 25 certificates; and at Valencia, 17 associate degrees and 21 certificates.  

A total of 1,752 Lobos will receive degrees or certificates this fall (across all campuses). An official degree count is determined following commencement.

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

Ceremony Order
Following the National Anthem, sung by UNM Vocal Performance Major Marshal Hollingsworth, and the Presentation of Colors by the UNM Color Guard, UNM President Garnett S. Stokes will provide a Welcome to begin the 2023 Fall commencement exercises.

UNM alumna Michelle Melendez will present the keynote address. Melendez is the inaugural director of the City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion. A native of Albuquerque, Melendez has approximately 20 years of experience in community development, leadership development, and advocacy to address social determinants of health and their policy antecedents.

She brings a lifelong vision of racial equity to the Office of Equity and Inclusion. She believes that her relationships with dedicated social justice, economic development, and public health champions will lead Albuquerque to embrace equity as a guiding principle in all areas of civic life.

Melendez holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor’s in Communication. She was a journalist for 13 years before moving into community health equity work.

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

Board of Regents’ Greeting
Robert Schwartz, secretary-treasurer, UNM Board of Regents

ASUNM Greeting
Krystah Pacheco, president, Associate Students of The University of New Mexico (ASUNM)

GPSA Greeting
Justin Lauriano, president, Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Keynote Address
Michelle Melendez, director, City of Albuquerque Diversity & Inclusion

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

Remarks from Alumni Association
Jaymie Romero, 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
Marshall Hollingsworth, UNM Vocal Performance major

For more information, including the 2023 Fall Commencement Livestream and stories of Inspiring Graduates, visit Class of 23.