The UNM Parent Association Scholarship Committee recently awarded $40,000 in scholarships to students for the 2012-13 academic year. Forty students were the recipients of various $1,000 scholarships including eight graduate students and 32 undergrads.

It's the fourth time in the Association's short four-year existence that it has been able to award scholarships. The UNM Parent Association Scholarship Committee also awarded 30 scholarships last academic year (2011-12), six scholarships in 2010-11 and four scholarships in 2009-10.

"We are fortunate to be able to offer these scholarships to both undergrad and graduate students during these tough economic times," said Maria Probasco, past president, UNM Parent Association. "Through our fundraising efforts, which include numerous activities designed to involve parents, we have raised more than $80,000 for student scholarships the past four years."

The UNM Parent Association has a short history, but it has made giant strides since that time. In 2006, a Parent Relations office was founded. In 2007, the UNM Parent Association began as a Parent Advisory Board. In April 2008, under the leadership and support of then UNM President David Schmidly and his wife, Janet, and with approval from the UNM Board of Regents, it officially became the UNM Parent Association.

In their efforts to secure success of the Association, five founding members of the UNM Parent Association who also served two consecutive terms or total of five years of dedicated volunteer service since the Association's inception.

They include: Christina Kitsos, Angela Koury, Nick Manole, Honorary Member Bob Notary and Probasco. The members were recognized at the June 12, UNM Board of Regents meeting where each was recognized and received a plaque for their volunteer service and their commitment to the Association.

The Parent Association also has shared governance with the Board of Regents as the Association President is also a Regent Advisor. Maria Probasco having served in this capacity for the past four years as the Association's first President.

Since those humble beginnings back in 2007, UNM Parent Association has grown by leaps and bounds. Now, with more than 8,000 members, 17 annual events and activities, $80,000 in scholarships awarded the past four years and a $15,000 Scholarship Endowment, the UNM Parent Association has proven the need for an Association by parents, for parents.

"We have more than 8,000 member parents, which is indicative to me that there was a need for the University of New Mexico to officially recognize parents and the role they play in their child's education by staying connected and engaged with their student and the University," said Probasco. "It is also important to note the level of events and activities the Parent Association coordinates yearly, which shows the large number of parent volunteers and their involvement with the Association. Indeed, the UNM Parent Association is leaving its mark at the University of New Mexico for future generations of parents and students."

For more information and how you can become involved, visit: UNM Parent Association.

Media contact: Steve Carr, (505) 277-1821; email: