Good morning.

The University of New Mexico is a remarkable campus that has often been called a city within the city, and integral to its operation is a committed and dedicated staff who cares deeply for the safety and protection of our students. The recent attacks on two female students on campus are deeply disturbing to me. As the president of this university and as one who also lives on campus with my family, I am committed to doing everything in my power to ensure that safety continues to be a top priority. I understand that the frequency of these incidents over the past two weeks may be a source of anxiety and also may raise questions about what we are doing to try to prevent such events from happening. Your safety is of the utmost importance to the University, and there are things we are doing to respond. We are significantly increasing our UNM police and security presence and patrols, and are in the process of developing a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) for UNM. Please visit Campus Safety to keep apprised of updated initiatives and notifications, as well as find available campus resources.

A special thank you to all who participated in the campus safety forum last Friday. As was passionately stated by GPSA president Marisa Silva, this is a community issue. To that end, it is essential that every member of the campus community take a personal role in campus safety. We can all be more aware of and sensitive to our surroundings and circumstances, and take common sense steps to enhance our safety. We can also enhance our security and well-being by looking out for each other as we move about campus.

UNM is committed to providing the best possible service at all times to this community. Your comments and concerns regarding any issue of public safety are always welcome.

Strengthening the Town and Gown Bond
One of the aspects of serving as President of UNM that I am coming to deeply appreciate is the opportunity to work with the leaders from across the central New Mexico community. UNM is a particularly integral part of the City of Albuquerque, and one of the great joys of my role is getting to know and work with Mayor RJ Berry. Like me, he was a Lobo athlete and we are both proud alumni of UNM. He is inspiring in his commitment to UNM, his love for New Mexico, and his vision for Albuquerque. Every time we work together I come away with new ideas that have great potential not only the city, but also for UNM.

Forging a good partnership between "Town" and "Gown," or city and university, is not something that happens every day and yet it is very important for both to flourish, particularly in a state with all of the gifts and all of the challenges we face in New Mexico. Of course the Mayor and I have differing responsibilities but we also have many areas of shared vision and collaboration, including an economic development vision that we believe will be mutually beneficial.

Mayor Berry has put forth a bold vision for Albuquerque and he is inviting on-line input from everyone who cares about this city at Weigh In ABQ: The Plan. I would like to encourage all UNM staff, faculty and especially students to join in. Some of you may think that Albuquerque is just a stop on your life's journey, but even so, your perspectives are important. And, speaking from my own experience, you may find that your roots here are much deeper than you suspect. You may leave the Land of Enchantment, but you may also find your way back to this special place. So please take a moment and give the Mayor your ideas at the Online Town Hall.

Special Thanks to Regent Don Chalmers
Another great community leader with whom I have had the privilege to work is Don Chalmers, who has stepped down from the Board of Regents. A leading businessman and great community philanthropist, Regent Chalmers has served UNM for the past seven years with quiet insight and thoughtful vision. Please join me in honoring his service to the University at a campus-wide reception to be held at the Student Union Building (SUB), Ballroom C on Monday, Feb. 18, from 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Alumni Association Award Dinner
Our Alumni Association does tremendous work keeping Lobos all over the world connected with their alma mater though many different events, including recognizing outstanding alumni with annual awards. The 2013 James F. Zimmerman, Bernard S. Rodey, Erna S. Fergusson and Faculty Teaching Awards will be presented at an awards dinner on Thursday, Feb. 21 at Hotel Andaluz, 125 Second Street NW.

This year's recipients are:

James F. Zimmerman: Derek Smith ('94 MS, '97 PhD)
Bernard S. Rodey: James Ellis ('68 BBA)
Erna S. Fergusson: Angie Vachio ('75 MA, '02 HOND)
Faculty Teaching: John Benavidez ('94 BBA, '97 MBA)

The Alumni Association invites you to help celebrate these outstanding Lobos. Cocktails are at 5:45 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30. To RSVP please go to the Alumni Association website or call Alumni Relations at (505) 277-5808 by Feb. 15. My congratulations to all the 2013 honorees for this well deserved recognition.

Scholarships Available from Alumni Association
The Alumni Association also supports Lobos who are still pursuing their studies by making a number of scholarships available to full-time undergraduate and graduate students. Applications are available online through Thursday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. at Alumni Association Scholarships.

Be safe, have a great week, and Go Lobos!