The University of New Mexico Alumni Association announces the recipients of its prestigious James F. Zimmerman, Bernard S. Rodey, Erna S. Fergusson and Faculty Teaching Awards. They include: James F. Zimmerman Award – John Mateczun; Bernard S. Rodey Award – Garrett Sheldon; Erna S. Fergusson Award – Michelle Coons; and Faculty Teaching Award – Steven McLaughlin.

“This year’s awards recipients are making important contributions to our nation, state and university communities,” said Karen Abraham, Executive Director of the UNM Alumni Association. “They are a distinguished and diverse group of talented individuals.”

The alumni recipients will be honored at the Alumni Association’s Winter Award Dinner Thursday, Feb. 5 at Hotel Andaluz. Cocktails are at 5:45 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Tickets cost $40 per person. To RSVP and to purchase tickets online, visit the UNM Alumni Relations Office or call (505) 277-5808 by Thursday, Jan. 29.


John Mateczun

James F. Zimmerman Award – John Mateczun (’73 BUS, ’78 MD)
John Mateczun retired as a vice admiral from the U.S. Navy in 2012 after 38 years of active military service. During his last four years on active duty, he oversaw the largest and most complex Base Realignment and Closure project in the history of the Department of Defense while merging the National Naval Medical Center and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center into the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the nation’s largest military medical center and rehabilitation facility. Mateczun earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from UNM and is board certified in Adult Psychiatry as well as Forensic Psychiatry. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He is currently the president of United Healthcare Military & Veterans.

Garrett Sheldon

Bernard S. Rodey Award – Garrett Sheldon (’77 BA)
Garrett Ward Sheldon is The John Morton Beaty Professor of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Virginia College at Wise. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the UNM Honors Program in 1977 and earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Sheldon has published 10 books in the fields of political theory and political theology, including “The Political Philosophy of Thomas Jeffersonand “Religion and Politics: Major Thinkers on the Relation of Church and State.” He has been a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University; the University of Vienna, Austria; and Trinity College, Dublin. Sheldon received the Outstanding Faculty in Virginia Award, the highest honor conferred on an academic by the Commonwealth. He is also an ordained Christian minister and author of the novel “What Would Jesus Do?”

Michelle Coons

Erna S. Fergusson Award – Michelle Coons (’83 BBA)
Michelle Coons is a true UNM, community and state of New Mexico leader and volunteer. Coons, at the age of 34, served as the National Alumni Association president in 1995. Since then, she has served as chair of the Anderson School of Management Foundation, chair of the Robert O. Anderson School of Management National Advisory Board and is currently a member of the UNM Hospital Board. In July of this year, she will become chair of the UNM Foundation Board. Outside of UNM, her community involvement includes board chair of Accion New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona, board member of the Private Equity Investment Committee for the State Investment Council and member of the New Mexico Women’s Forum and the New Mexico Amigos. Past service includes 2013 United Way campaign chair for Central New Mexico, past Association of Commerce and Industry board chair and board member of the Santa Fe Rail Yard Community Corporation. Coons, who has served in the banking industry for 31 years, is president of First National Santa Fe and First National Rio Grande for New Mexico. She is the bank’s first woman president since its inception in 1870.

Steve McLaughlin

Faculty Teaching Award – Steven McLaughlin
Steven McLaughlin is a Regents’ Professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. Originally from Seattle, Wash., McLaughlin was a resident in emergency medicine at UNM from 1995 to 1998. He was drawn to stay in New Mexico by his love of the mountains and open spaces and joined the faculty of the Department of Emergency Medicine in 1998. McLaughlin says that the Department of Emergency Medicine produces great academic research, great clinical care and provides amazing educational experiences for students, residents and fellows. McLaughlin’s academic interests include feedback and debriefing, human simulation, wilderness medicine, airway management, procedural sedation and oral hypoglycemic poisoning. His teaching activities have included running the emergency medicine residency program for seven years, growing the programs for simulation based education at UNM and most recently contributing to an innovative program of feedback training for faculty and students. McLaughlin is recognized nationally as one of the experts in simulation based education for emergency medicine. Outside of work, McLaughlin loves spending time with his wife and three children, trail running and traveling.

For additional information, visit UNM Alumni Awards or call Jane Algermissen, UNM Alumni Relations Office, (505) 277-9085 or email,