Commencement 2015
About 3,420 students are projected to receive degrees from UNM in Spring 2015.
Credit: Bobby Tamayo Photography

The University of New Mexico hosts its commencement ceremonies Friday-Saturday, May 8-9, recognizing graduate degree students and baccalaureate and associate degrees students separately.

This is the second year UNM hosts separate ceremonies recognizing the successes of both graduate and undergraduate students. 

“As we honor your accomplishments as graduates of the University of New Mexico, we are also celebrating your endless possibilities,” said UNM President Robert G. Frank. “Great universities foster discovery in every discipline. At UNM, our commitment is to embolden in our graduates the courage and will to ask the challenging questions that ultimately reveal their own new discoveries. As you look ahead, I hope you will keep that spirit of inquiry alive in everything you do, and in all aspects of your life.”

The festivities begin Friday, May 8 at 6 p.m. for approximately 900 doctoral and master’s candidates. Dean of Graduate Studies Julie Coonrod presides as master of ceremonies with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend delivering the keynote address.

The ceremony for an anticipated 2,000 baccalaureate and associates degree recipients is Saturday, May 9 at 9 a.m. Associate Vice President Terry Babbitt presides as master of ceremonies with Jim Hinton delivering the keynote address. 

Both ceremonies will be held at WisePies Arena aka The Pit.

For a complete schedule of ceremonies, including convocations, visit: UNM Graduation.

"Great universities foster discovery in every discipline. At UNM, our commitment is to embolden in our graduates the courage and will to ask the challenging questions that ultimately reveal their own new discoveries. As you look ahead, I hope you will keep that spirit of inquiry alive in everything you do, and in all aspects of your life." – UNM President Robert G. Frank

One of the special honors awarded during the graduate ceremony is the Tom L. Popejoy Dissertation Prize, presented to Aleksandra Faust. Faust is a senior computer science research & development engineer at Sandia National Laboratories.

While attending UNM, Faust was a recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student in Computer Science Award, the New Mexico Space Grant Fellowship and the Sandia National Laboratories Doctoral Studies Program Fellowship. Faust enjoys STEM outreach in Albuquerque. Her research interests include artificial intelligence, robotics and machine learning.

Once again, UNM hosts separate ceremonies honoring graduate and undergraduate degree recipients.

Townsend, who is the keynote speaker for the graduate ceremony, has a long history of accomplishment in the public arena and in the private sector for the last decade. The eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy’s 11 children, Townsend is a managing director at the Rock Creek Group, an investment management company, and is the chair of the Governor’s Retirement Security Task Force for the State of Maryland.

An honors graduate of Harvard University, Townsend received her law degree from the University of New Mexico (1978), where she was a member of the law review. She has received fourteen honorary degrees. A member of the bar in Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts, she is also a certified broker-dealer.

Hinton, the undergraduate keynote speaker, serves as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, New Mexico’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system and its largest provider of healthcare.

Currently, he is co-chair of an effort called “Mission: Graduate,” with the goals of increasing the number of people earning college degrees in central New Mexico by 60,000 by the year 2020, and creating a workforce able to stimulate the state’s economic development.

Hinton received a Master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Arizona State University in 1983 and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 1981 from the University of New Mexico.

“Once again, our commencement speakers this year exemplify the value of a UNM degree and the heights it can take you,” Frank said. “Our graduate speaker Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, and our undergraduate speaker Jim Hinton, both consider their degrees from the University of New Mexico as key steps among their noteworthy achievements. We look forward to hearing their encouragement and insight for our graduates.”

About 3,420 students are projected to receive degrees from UNM in Spring 2015.

Main Campus will award approximately 2,000 bachelor’s degrees, 567 master’s degrees, 258 associate’s, 90 doctorates, 85 juris doctorates, 101 medical doctorates, 85 pharmacy doctorates, 20 graduate certificates and 15 education specialists. 

At the branches: UNM-Gallup, 98 associate degrees and 32 certificates are projected to be awarded; at Los Alamos, 20 associate degrees; at Taos, 50 associate degrees and 31 certificates; and at Valencia, 95 associate degrees and 67 certificates.

An official degree count is determined following commencement.