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UNM to host two commencement ceremonies this spring

Celebrations set for graduate and undergraduate students


The completion of a degree is an accomplishment to be commended and a testament to a student's dedication and hard work. In an effort to create an atmosphere that most effectively recognizes the successes of both graduate and undergraduate students, UNM President Robert Frank has decided that the institution will hold two commencement ceremonies beginning this spring.

“Commencement is a time to recognize the efforts of our graduates and a time for those who have supported our students to relish in their accomplishments," Frank said. “Earning a bachelor’s degree is very different from earning a Masters or Ph.D., so we want to honor each individually to allow family and friends time to focus on their graduate in a more intimate setting.”

The ceremony for an expected 1,000 baccalaureate and associates degree recipients is Saturday, May 17 at 9 a.m. at University Arena. Faculty Senate President Richard Holder will presides as master of ceremonies with Lamek “Humble” Lukanga delivering the keynote address. 

Lukanga was 11 years old when he and his family were granted asylum in the U.S. after years of enduring civil wars, genocide and poverty in Uganda, East Africa. He graduated from UNM with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration. Lukanga founded Life Line Financial Group, one of the top business management firms in the country that manages finances and business affairs for some of the biggest names in the professional sports and entertainment industries. New Mexico Business Weekly has recognized him as a “Top 40 under Forty” business leader.

“Humble has an amazing story,” Frank said. “His enthusiasm for UNM is remarkable. His optimism for life: extraordinary. He will be very inspiring for our undergraduates. The way he tells his story will capture the heart of everyone in attendance.”

The ceremony for approximately 200 graduate degree students is set for Friday, May 16 at 6 p.m. in Popejoy Hall.  Dean of Graduate Studies Julie Coonrod will preside as master of ceremonies with David Hovda delivering the keynote address.

Hovda, a leading expert on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at UCLA, division of neurosurgery, received his BA in Psychology (1979); his MS in Psychobiology (1982); and his Ph.D. in Psychobiology (1985), all from UNM.

“David Hovda is a remarkable UNM success story,” Frank said. “It will be great for our grad students to hear from one of our own who works among the biggest and best in his field.”

Not only will two ceremonies provide for a shorter and more personal approach to graduation, it will also help UNM in preparing for the future. “We expect to be graduating a lot more students in the coming year,” Frank said.

For more information, visit UNM Graduation website.


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