The University of New Mexico sure looks great for 135 years, said Garnett Stokes, University president at Lobo Day 2024 on Wed., Feb. 28, at UNM’s 135th birthday celebration.

With the University's Main Campus teeming with students in flashy red UNM T-shirts and hooting and howling along to a “Happy Birthday” anthem at the Cornell Mall, it is unlikely that anyone could argue with President Stokes on that one.

Each interactive, space-themed table signifying UNM’s contributions to space science and exploration was swarming with curious staff and students who walked away from the booths with their hair electrically-charged with static, or dizzy from the spinning chair exhibited by UNM’s Physics and Astronomy department. The line for the tables handing out free cookies, stickers, posters, and the most sought-after item, the space-themed Lobo Day free T-shirt, merged with the line for Boba tea, which stretched past the UNM Mesa Vista building.

“We [UNM] started with 25 students back then,” Stokes said to a cheering crowd of students preparing for a gigantic group photo to be displayed in the Student Union Building, “Look at where we are now. You’re the reason we’re here. It’s so great that we’re celebrating with you. Happy birthday, UNM!”

President Stoke’s speech was followed by UNM Provost James Holloway, who also had some words to say about UNM.

“This is an absolutely great event – 135 years of The University of New Mexico – The University FOR New Mexico,” Holloway said. “An institution that has made a huge difference in your lives and lives across the state. We can’t be more proud than to celebrate this day.”

Consecutively, the first, second, third, and fourth year and graduate students sounded off on the Student Health and Counseling ramp in a howl that erupted across campus, their “Bo’s” held up to the morning sky.

“I’m working to make sure they hear it on the moon!” shouted Eric Scott, vice president for Student Affairs. “I just feel this immense gratitude that I get to be part of this community with you. You are all part of my community. I'm proud to be part of your community.”

The ceremony was a tremendous hit. Tony Rice, executive director of Lobo Spirit, whose team were some of the event's main organizers, was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of students in Cornell Mall.

“I'm really happy about all of the departments and areas of campus. Their booths are doing really well,” Rice said. “They're getting a lot of interaction. I think it’s a lot of exposure they wouldn't normally get all at once. The posters and stickers… those are awesome! The shirts are great. I think, overall, the event went great! I think the shirts, no doubt, were the biggest hit.”

Many students were shocked to flip back the flaps of trivia questions at the booth for UNM’s podcast, It’s Probably Not Rocket Science, and the Health Sciences table ran out of free giveaway items fast! Lobo Lucy was caught slipping away with too many stickers in her travel bag, and a sizable line for rock climbing outlasted the event itself! The photo booth was a fan favorite because students got to pick props and snap a photo that would be printed right out for them or texted to them.

For those on campus who missed out on snagging a Lobo Day T-shirt and the whole celebratory experience, don’t fret! The UNM Bookstore will have a portion of Lobo Day shirts for sale in-store, and many of the exhibits have more to share on their websites.

The Lobo Day event was made possible by UNM Lobo Spirit, University Communication & Marketing, and all the student and staff volunteers who helped make Lobo Day 2024 possible.