Ask Breda Bova what she found most fulfilling, or most compelling, or which accomplishments she will hold dearest after 36 years of working at the University of New Mexico, and the answer is always the same: the students. Bova, who has garnered numerous awards and participated in more community service than can be recounted here, is retiring.

Bova taught in the College of Education, where she also served as associate dean. “Breda is an incredible professional who is committed to students and their success,” said Vi Florez, interim dean in the CoE. “She has always demonstrated this through her dedicated service to the College of Ed and the university as a whole. She will be missed, but we wish her the very best with her retirement.”

Attention to student-athletes
For 16 years, Bova was the faculty representative for the UNM Mountain West Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association where she was responsible for the certification of all the student athletes at UNM. She said the biggest change she has seen is “the attention given to student-athletes as students, and graduating them in higher numbers every year.” She attributes UNM Athletic Director Paul Krebs with getting the academic component in place.

“Breda Bova is what is good about UNM,” Krebs said. “No one cares more about the students and is willing to go the extra mile to help them than Breda. She has probably touched the lives of more student athletes than anyone in this department.”

Time in the Office of the President
Bova also worked in the Office of the President as senior advisor and chief of staff, serving five UNM presidents. “One of my most vivid memories of Breda is her infectious smile and laugh,” said Mitch Garrity, executive administrative assistant to President Robert Frank. “No matter what the situation was, and we had some intense ones in the president’s office over the years, Breda always stayed cool, calm and collected with a smile on her face and a chuckle in her voice. After the situation had run its course, Breda would say, “Now, let’s remember how we don’t want to act.” 

Garrity added that Bova is generous and kind. “If students had a problem or a challenge, Breda would help get them to the right organization,” she said. “She did this numerous times throughout the time I worked with her, but I figure it’s something she’s done all her life.”

Education and awards
Bova received a Ph.D. in Adult Education from UNM, an M.S. degree in Educational Research from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education from St. Thomas Aquinas College, Sparkhill, NY.

Over the years, Bova has received numerous awards including the 2014 Meritorious Service Medal from the UNM Board of Regents; the Dr. Albert C. Yates Distinguished Service Award by the Mountain West Conference; the Erna Ferguson Award from the UNM Alumni Association; the 2011 Distinguished Public Service Award from the State of New Mexico; 2006 Spirit of Achievement Award; Student Services Award-UNM, 2003; the Zia Award-Outstanding Alumnae from UNM, 2002; Distinguished Woman of the Year Award for the State of New Mexico; NM Commission on the Status of Women, 1997; Woman on the Move Award-YMCA in the category Educational Administration, 1997.

She has also been very active in community organizations. She has chaired the Board of Directors for the annual UNM United Way of Central New Mexico drive and is currently serving as Chair of the Board of KNME and is a board member of the Albuquerque Institute of Mathematics and Science (AIMS@UNM).

When asked what she will do in retirement, Bova said, “That's the big unknown at this point.  I am weighing several options. I guess I’ll know it when I see it.”

Also, see Breda photo album