Eighteen men and woman who served in the United States Armed Forces were recognized at a special graduation ceremony. The UNM Veteran and Military Resource Center (VMRC) held its Fall 2019 Graduation, celebrating student veteran graduates and their families.

“These folks have laid down their lives to serve our country, and this is just a small way we can repay them for their service,” said Alonzo Maestas, director of the VMRC. “This is another step along their journey, and I hope they choose to continue their education.”

Families, friends and supporters filled tables in two SUB Ballrooms to see the graduates walk across the stage and receive a certificate, stole, cord and coin. They will be able to wear the regalia at UNM Commencement Ceremonies next month. Patrick Lopez from UNM’s School of Law gave the keynote address, emphasizing how each moment in life is the opportunity to impact generations to come.

“We gather to celebrate an important milestone in the legacy of each of you Veterans. You are building a legacy and influence that will long outlive you. You have gained skills and talents that will serve you well in life; most important is a willingness to serve something greater than yourself.”

VMRC Graduate
UNM VMRC Graduate Sean Kaisler, Air Force

Veterans representing Air Force, Marines, Navy and Army were recognized at the event. The UNM Army/Air Force ROTC Color Guard posted colors, Danyelle Kupferer performed the national anthem, and a special message was read by two Spanish-American War era reenactors, Jason and Meagan Kauffin.

“Learning is an essential part of growth, and we’re proud of what these Veterans have accomplished here at UNM,” Maestas concluded. “I hope they choose to continue pursuing education; and if that choice leads them back to UNM, we couldn’t be more ready to assist them.”

The VMRC is run by Veterans for Veterans. It makes resources easily accessible and widely available to all service members veterans and their dependents who would like to explore the possibility of attending UNM and or any other State of New Mexico Accredited Higher Educational Institution. It is a VA-designated VetSuccess on Campus office offering assistance with enrollment advising, veteran’s benefits and advocacy.

Click here to donate to the UNM Veterans and Military Resource Center.