The University of New Mexico Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its 2014 Lobo, Zia and Inspirational Young Alumnus Awards. They include: Tim Cass, Lobo Award; John Draper, Charles Lanier, Damon Martinez, Don Power, Ruth Schifani and Barbara Vigil, Zia Award; and Micheal Chicarelli, Inspirational Young Alumnus.

The recipients will be honored at the Alumni Association’s All-University Breakfast on Saturday, Sept. 27, at Hotel Albuquerque located at 800 Rio Grande Boulevard, NW. Breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. The public is invited to attend. Tickets are $20 per person; reservations are required. To RSVP and to purchase tickets, visit Homecoming 2014: Howling@125 or call the Alumni Relations Office at (505) 277-5808 or toll free (800) 258-6866.

The Zia Award honors outstanding alumni who make their home in New Mexico. The Lobo Award honors an alum dedicated to the betterment of the university or who has garnered exceptional career achievements. The Inspirational Young Alumnus Award honors emerging leaders, age 40 or below, in community service or professional achievements.

“The talents, accomplishments and passions of these recipients are astounding,” said Karen Abraham, executive director of the UNM Alumni Association. “The awards celebrate these amazing people who have made significant contributions to the community and to the University.

UNM Homecoming 2014: “Howling@125” activities extend from Sept. 21-27. For more information, visit: UNM Homecoming 2014: Howling@125.


Tim Cass

Tim Cass (’87 BBA)
Tim Cass is entering his ninth year at UNM and currently serves as chief operating officer for the UNM Athletic Department. A former Lobo men’s tennis player and head coach, Cass brings a unique passion and vision to his position. Cass serves as the sport oversight for football, men’s basketball, and men’s and women’s tennis. Cass recently oversaw the 18-month, $60 plus million renovation of The Pit. In May, he was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame for his work as a collegiate tennis coach and administrator. Cass, who was previously the head men’s tennis coach at Texas A&M, was one of the most respected Division I head coaches in the nation and guided both the Lobos and the Aggies to unprecedented success. During his collegiate career for the Lobos, Cass was a three-time All-WAC honoree and was an All-America in doubles in 1986. Cass graduated from UNM in 1987 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.


John Draper

John Draper (’75 JD)
John Draper grew up in Albuquerque, attending Highland High School and Princeton University before graduating from the UNM School of Law in 1975. Draper also has graduate degrees from the University of Stockholm Law Faculty and St. John’s College in Santa Fe. In 1975, he received a Fulbright Scholar Award. Draper practiced for 36 years in Santa Fe with the firm of Montgomery & Andrews. In March 2014, he formed a new firm with his son, Matthew Draper, which specializes in water law and international law. In recent decades, Draper has spent most of his professional time representing states in interstate water disputes before the United States Supreme Court. He is currently counsel for the states of New Mexico, Montana and Kansas in U.S. Supreme Court cases involving disputes over interstate rivers. Draper regularly participates in New Mexico State Engineer administrative proceedings and appeals, court adjudications of water rights, and the purchase and sale of water rights.

Charles Lanier

Charles “Chuck” Lanier ’43 BA
Charles “Chuck” Lanier was born in Aztec, N.M. in 1921. He served aboard four aircraft carriers as a naval Officer during World War II from 1943-46. He was hired to manage the University Golf Course from 1947-57 by President Tom Popejoy. Never mind that he had never picked up a club. He spent his career in land title companies and in finance serving as President of New Mexico Title Company for many years. Lanier was an avid participant in all aspects of the community including president, United Community Fund; president, Albuquerque Boy’s Club, president, Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce; chairman of Advisory Council, St. Joseph’s Hospital; president for Great SW Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; chairman, Economic Forum; city commissioner, City of Albuquerque, chairman, State Personnel Board for N.M.; and vice chairman, UNM Foundation Board of Directors to name a few. Lanier's awards and honors include: Distinguished Service Award and Lifetime Membership, Albuquerque Jaycees; New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award, State of N.M.; Honorary Commander, Kirtland Air Force Base; Inductee, Albuquerque Senior Citizens Hall of Fame; and Lifetime Member, Economic Forum. Lanier received his BA from UNM in 1943.

Damon Martinez

Damon Martinez (’89 BA ’92 JD)
On Nov. 21, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Damon P. Martinez to become the 45th U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico.  Martinez’ nomination was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 21, 2014, and was sworn in on May 27. As U.S. Attorney, Martinez serves as the top federal law enforcement official in New Mexico, and represents the United States’ interests in civil cases. He currently serves on the Border and Immigration Subcommittee, the Native American Issues Subcommittee, the Terrorism and National Security Subcommittee and the Environmental Issues Working Group of the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. He has worked in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2002, Martinez joined the U.S. Army Reserve as a Judge Advocate. In 2008, he was mobilized to the Washington D.C. area where he worked on a special project that became the U.S. Army Reserve Legal Command. In 2012, he was deployed to Sinai, Egypt, as part of the 1st Battalion of the 200th Infantry Regiment of the New Mexico National Guard in support of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. He currently holds the rank of Major in the New Mexico National Guard. A native of New Mexico, Martinez received a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Economics and Political Science in 1989, a Juris Doctor in 1992, and a Master of Business Administration in 1993, all from UNM. 

Don Power

Don Power (’71 BAED ’03 EMBA)
Don Power received his BA degree from UNM in 1971, and in 2003, he received his Executive MBA degree from the Anderson School of Business at UNM. Power is the Chairman Emeritus of Jaynes Corporation. He began his career with Jaynes in 1969 as a formsetter and laborer while in college. Power enjoyed his work in the construction industry. He received great fulfillment meeting new people, listening to their ideas and taking those thoughts from the design stage through successfully completed projects. He served as chairman of United Way Fund Raising Campaign for 2010 and chairman of the Board of Directors in 2013. Other organizations where Power has held board positions include: Economic Forum, CNM Foundation Board, UNM Anderson School of Management Foundation Board, Albuquerque Economic Development Inc., New Mexico Partnership, St. Pius X High School Foundation Board of Trustees, Great SW Council Boy Scouts of America, The Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Eastdale Little League, St. Joseph's Healthcare System, NAIOP and Beaver Creek West Management. He is also a member of the New Mexico Amigos.

Ruth Schifani

Ruth Schifani (’70 BA ’76 JD)
Ruth Schifani is an experienced practitioner in Banking and Real Estate Law. She brings more than 30 years’ experience to numerous financial institutions in public finance, real estate and asset based secured transactions throughout the State of New Mexico and has represented both bank and retail establishments in regulatory and consumer compliance matters. She is an attorney with Modrall Sperling. Chambers USA reports, "Schifani is particularly adept at financing deals with bond transactions in tax exempt matters. Sources note she is excellent at handling complex development loans, and she is ‘a cut above the rest.” "(Ms. Schifani) will give 110 percent to accomplish the deal - she is morally upstanding, very reliable and quietly competent."  Schifani's a Fellow of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys. In addition to her practice, she is active in community serving as chair of the UNM Honors College Advisory Board and treasurer of New Mexico Appleseed Board. She previously served as president of the UNM Alumni Association, president of the YWCA of the Middle Rio Grande, president of the Albuquerque Bar Association and as a member of the Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission. Schifani received both her Bachelor's of Arts and Science in 1970, and Juris Doctorate in 1976 from UNM. 

Barbara Vigil

Barbara Vigil (’85 JD)
Chief Justice Barbara J. Vigil has served on the New Mexico Supreme Court since December 2012. Chief Justice Vigil brings to the Court over 14 years of judicial experience. Prior to her election to the New Mexico Supreme Court, she served as a district court judge in the First Judicial District Court. Chief Justice Vigil has been recognized as a leader in community collaboration and in the development of comprehensive strategies to improve and support the juvenile justice system in New Mexico. Vigil has lived in New Mexico her entire life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from New Mexico State University in 1981 and a juris doctorate from the UNM School of Law in 1985.


Michael Chicarelli

Michael Chicarelli (’97 BSN, ’11 MSN)
Michael Chicarelli began his career as a nurse in 1997 in the Emergency Department at UNM Hospital. He quickly worked his way up the ranks to become the executive director of Emergency Services in 2010. He currently oversees 350 full time employees and a $30 million budget. During his tenure at UNM Hospitals and under his impeccable leadership, Chicarelli has made numerous advancements and improvements to the Emergency Services Department. He continues his passion for improving health care and the health of others. He is chair of the hospital’s Emergency Department Operations Work Group. He also works to mentor nurses and those seeking to enter the health profession. Considered a national expert, Chicarelli uses his time to share his expertise including participating in lectures and published works. Chicarelli received two degrees, BSN in 1997 and MSN in 2011, both from UNM.

For more information, contact Jane Algermissen, UNM Alumni Relations Office, (505) 277-9085 ro email,