This year’s spring commencement at The University of New Mexico, set for Saturday, May 12, will have a twist to the traditional ceremony as UNM installs its 23rd president, Garnett S. Stokes.

The Spring 2018 Commencement and Presidential Installation, which begins at 9 a.m. at Dreamstyle Arena, honors all doctoral, master’s, bachelor's and associate's degree candidates from all schools, colleges and degree-granting programs. And this year, it will incorporate a short installation of Stokes, who became UNM’s president on March 1.

UNM will live-stream the event on the UNM Facebook page. The event will also be available on Facebook for those who wish to watch at a different time.

Approximately 3,840 students* are expected to receive degrees and certificates this spring. Main campus will award approximately 2,440 bachelor’s degrees, 521 master’s degrees, 81 pharmacy doctorates, 105 doctorates, 85 juris doctorates, 81 medical doctorates and 58 graduate certificates.

At the branches, the following degrees are projected to be awarded: UNM-Gallup, 105 associate degrees and 50 certificates; at Los Alamos, 55 associate degrees and 51 certificates; at Taos, 41 associate degrees and 12 certificates; and at Valencia, 105 associate degrees and 66 certificates.

Installation of President Garnett S. Stokes

Amid the flourish and festivities of this year’s commencement exercises, there will be a special hallmark to celebrate – the installation of UNM’s 23rd president, Garnett S. Stokes.

UNM President Garnett S. Stokes
UNM President Garnett S. Stokes

The installation is a formal occasion in which the new president is invested with the duties of the office. It’s also a time for the UNM community to come together, embracing shared goals and ambitions for New Mexico’s flagship university.

The fundamental purpose of a presidential installation is to honor the past, applaud the present and herald the future. While the installation tradition holds a lot of significance in terms of recognizing and welcoming UNM’s new president, it is a brief ceremony that will not overshadow the graduation proceedings.

As always, the spotlight will shine on UNM graduates in order to celebrate and commend their achievements.

For more information, visit Presidential Installation - Intention & Impact.

One of the long-time tradition that will be celebrated during commencement involves UNM's Golden Graduates. The UNM Alumni Association is celebrating the Class of 1968 to the Golden Graduates and Heritage Club Weekend—with activities on Friday and Saturday, May 11-12.

Alums will join fellow Lobos, friends and classmates in celebrating the Golden Graduates of 1967 and Heritage Club members, alumni who have graduated 50 or more years ago, for two days of fun events, including participating in UNM’s Spring 2018 commencement. 

This year's Golden Graduates include:

V. William Dolan, Jr., Carlos Duran, Lucy A. Bennett, Sally Townsend Gavlik, Mary Martin Glantz, Ralph Gonzalez, Frank Judnich, Sidney Klessinger, Ernest Lange, Ellen Rosenblum Lipsman, Thomas Minton, Dennis Roberts and Richard Tang. For a related story, visit: UNM Alumni Association celebrates Class of 1968.

The master of ceremonies for this year’s commencement exercises is Associate Vice President for Enrollment and Analytics Terry Babbitt. The National Anthem will be performed by soprano Connor Murphy-White, a third-year graduate student. UNM Board of Regents President Rob Doughty will preside over the installation of President Stokes, who will give her inaugural address. The keynote address will be presented by Ian McKinnon.

One of the special honors awarded during the commencement ceremony is the Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize, presented this spring to Yan Yi “Anny” Chung, who earned her Ph.D. in Biology from The University of New Mexico and completed the dissertation titled, “Plant and Microbial Interactions are Strong Determinants of Plant Population and Community Dynamics.”

Chung’s work investigated how interactions between plants and their microbial associates shape plant competition and coexistence, as well as long-term population and community trajectories. Chapters from her dissertation have been published in the Journal of Ecology, Proceedings of the Royal Society: B, with two more chapters under review and in submission. 

Currently, Chung is a postdoctoral research fellow at Utah State University studying the role of plant-soil feedbacks in plant coexistence in the sagebrush steppe ecosystem.

McKinnon, the keynote speaker, is a founding partner of Sandia Holdings, LLC. Prior to starting Sandia, he spent nearly 20 years at Ziff Brothers Investments (“ZBI”), from which he retired as a managing partner. McKinnon received an MBA from Harvard Business School as a Baker Scholar and graduated summa cum laude from Occidental College with a BA in Public Policy. He was also a finalist for both the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

Murphy-White graduated Summa Cum Laude from Troy University with a double major in Music Industry and Theatre. Her achievements while studying at Troy include being recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Music Graduate and being awarded an internship with Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) in Manhattan. Murphy-White has also assisted in the production of concerts at Carnegie Hall and David Geffen Hall (formerly Avery Fisher Hall).

In addition to the main commencement ceremony, many individual departments will host graduation ceremonies, called "convocations.” A variety of keynote speakers are scheduled to speak at the various convocation ceremonies including Sen. Martin Heinrich, who will give the keynote at the UNM School of Engineering convocation Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in Dreamstyle Arena. That convocation will also be live-streamed on the SOE Facebook page.

For a complete schedule of ceremonies, department or school/college convocations, as well as additional commencement information and inspiring graduate videos, visit Lobo Grad.

* An official degree count is determined following commencement.