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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
October 18, 2004
Volume 40, Number 2


UNM Alumni Association honors six with Zia Award

The UNM Alumni Association honored six alumni with the Zia Award during homecoming at the Albuquerque Petroleum Club.

The Zia Award is presented to alumni living in New Mexico who have distinguished themselves in philanthropic endeavors, public office, education or service.

2004 recipients include:

Brooks George Brooks
(‘71 BUS, ‘80 MSPE)
Brooks coached the UNM ski team for 34 years and has been the only head coach in the program’s history. The team won the NCAA overall championship last March, garnering the first championship title in any sport at UNM.

Veronica Garcia (‘73 BA, ‘78 MA, ‘03 Ed.D.)
Garcia was appointed last year by Gov. Bill Richardson as New Mexico’s first Secretary of Education. Garcia comes to the post after 30 years of public education experience. She has worked in the Albuquerque Public Schools as substitute teacher, classroom teacher, school psychologist, principal and regional superintendent. Subsequently, she was appointed superintendent of the Santa Fe Public Schools.

Tom Kelley (‘66 BS, ‘68 MA, ‘73 Ph.D., ‘84 MA)
A Los Alamos native, Kelley returned home in 1978 to work in the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s radiochemistry group. In 1984, he worked with other scientists to author a software program, ARIES, that both the United States and Russia would use to dismantle nuclear weapons.

Karen Pharris (‘68 BA)
Pharris began working as a volunteer for Albuquerque’s Ronald McDonald House in 1981, and she hasn’t quit. When her children were in high school, Pharris initiated the Albuquerque High All-Night Prom that recurred for years.

RiggsJacki Pieracci Riggs (‘84 MA, ‘92 Ph.D.)
Riggs is the former president and CEO of the New Mexico Business Roundtable for Educational Excellence. Along with key community representatives, the Roundtable led the statewide collaborative on school reform. In 2003, Gov. Bill Richardson signed the School Reform Act creating greater school accountability and higher teacher pay. Riggs formerly served as Cabinet Secretary of the New Mexico Youth Authority.

Duffy Swan (‘68 BA)
Swan is a retired vice president for USWEST international and chief operating officer for USWEST’s joint venture in Malaysia. After his retirement in 1997, UNM recruited Swan to serve as development director and president of the UNM Foundation through 2000; and recruited him in an interim capacity in 2003.

The UNM Mortar Board Honorary presented the Lobo Award to Fannye Irving-Gibbs, who earned her BA in 1988, at the age of 74, and her master’s two years later. Irving-Gibbs is a tireless community volunteer.


Buikstra to receive medal

Jane Buikstra has been elected 2005 recipient of the Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology by the Archaeology Institute of America.

Buikstra will receive a science medal at the AIA annual meeting in Boston on Jan. 8. The award is one of the two highest honors that the Institute confers.

Buikstra is the Leslie Spier distinguished professor of Anthropology at UNM.


Student Activities staff earn personnel awards

Alex Gonzales, UNM Scholarship Office manager, and Allison Holcomb, UNM Student Activities advisor, along with undergraduate Aaron Salas received awards at the recent National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region IV-West conference.

Gonzales was awarded the Outstanding Mid-Level Professional Award.  The award is presented to an individual who has been in the profession at least five years, is a NASPA member, and has made significant contributions in the areas of innovation and responsive services. 

Holcomb was recognized as the Rising Star New Professional in New Mexico.  The award is presented to someone who has been in the profession less than three years, is employed full-time within student affairs, and has made a significant contribution to campus. Awards are given for each state represented in Region IV-West.

Salas is an undergraduate from Albuquerque. He was recognized as the Rising Star Undergraduate Student in New Mexico in honor of his work with student activities and excellent academic standing.


Gilbert scribes radio drama

An original radio drama by UNM College of Education employee Susanna Gilbert was broadcast on KUNM-FM on Nov. 14. “The List of Don Gregorio,” is a story of love interrupted by World War II and how the people of a tiny New Mexico town cope.


Straus featured on NOVA

UNM Professor of Anthropology Lawrence Straus recently appeared on the television science program NOVA. Straus and UNM graduate student David Kilby represented opposite sides of an archaeology debate in an episode “America's Stone Age Explorers.”

Since ancient and deadly spear points were found near Clovis, N.M., in the 1930s, many archaeologists have believed these weapons to originate with the first settlers of the New World. Many archaeologists have concluded that hunters equipped with Clovis weapons were the first settlers of the Americas, who probably arrived from Asia about 13,500 years ago.

But growing evidence suggests that humans populated the Americas before Clovis hunters arrived. Researchers have suggested that the first Americans came from Europe, not Asia. In 2000, Straus wrote a detailed article for the American Antiquity journal debunking the theory of a Transatlantic Solutrean migration.