Good morning.

For the past few weeks I have written about the importance of our involvement in the 2014 Legislative Session, and last week offered several opportunities in Santa Fe for us to represent the people, places and programs of UNM. On Tuesday, UNM was honored by a joint memorial on both the floors of the House and Senate celebrating our 125th anniversary. Later that evening, the UNM Alumni Association hosted its annual Legislative Appreciation reception, where many Lobos past and present had a chance to share their UNM experiences and expectations with our legislators and other state leaders. Upon walking into the Roundhouse on Wednesday, I was surrounded by a sea of cherry and silver at UNM Day at the Capitol, which is one of the most visible advocacy days for us to demonstrate our role as New Mexico's flagship university. I would like to thank all of the people who represented the University and our efforts to improve and advance our New Mexico communities. It was great to see so much enthusiasm at each table and to meet so many of our students, faculty and staff.

Not Just Doing Well, But Also Doing Good
The strength of our institution is not only measured by the advancements made by our students, staff and faculty, but also by the achievements of our alumni who have accomplished so much built upon the knowledge and perspectives that they acquired during their time at UNM. At the UNM Alumni Association's Winter Award Dinner this past Thursday, we celebrated four distinguished individuals whom we recognized for their contributions to UNM and to society, and who have inspired others to apply their insight and creativity to their studies, their careers and their lives.

  • Gerald "Jerry" McNerney ('73 BS, '75 MS, '81 Ph.D.) – James F. Zimmerman Award presented for this California Congressman's leadership in renewable energy government policy. 
  • James Anaya ('80 BA) – Bernard S. Rodey Award presented for championing the rights of indigenous people around the globe, for which he has also recently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Breda Murphy Bova ('79 Ph.D.) – Erna S. Fergusson Award presented for her administrative service to the University community, including five UNM presidents, university athletics and the College of Education, where she has taught for 34 years.
  • Feroza Jussawalla - Faculty Teaching Award presented for her commitment to teaching and research in the UNM English Department with a specialty in postcolonial literature.

Their stories are a legacy of the ways in which UNM Lobos are creating an impact on individual to global continuum.

Expanding the Worlds of Others Through Language
"Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations."

​​– Edward Sapir, Language: an Introduction to the Study of Speech

It is always exciting to learn that a UNM program is considered one of the best nationally by higher education commissions and associations. In late-December, the UNM Signed Language Interpreting (SLI) program was informed that it was awarded accreditation to its Bachelor of Science in Signed Language Interpreting by the Commission on Collegiate Interpreter Education. This distinction stands out significantly because the program is now one of only 14 with that status. I had the opportunity to read the findings of the Commission and was impressed by all of the observed program strengths, including the exceptional administrative management from Program Director, Dr. Phyllis Wilcox; the critical integration and collaboration within the Department of Linguistics; and the significant stakeholder community involvement to support academia.

The report also stated that the UNM progam might be unique in that one of our librarians, Kat Gullahorn, is fluent in American Sign Language, describing her as passionate about helping students "access the many learning resources the library has to offer." I would like to express my gratitude to the entire Department of Linguistics, students, staff and faculty alike, for their efforts in attaining this recognition. This is an honor to the department, the College of Arts and Sciences and The University of New Mexico.

Have a great week and Go Lobos!