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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
May 9, 2005
Volume 40, Number 10

President's Update

Commencement season reminds us why we work

By Louis Caldera

Commencement – literally, “beginning” – is the season when we are reminded anew of the real reason for our work at the University of New Mexico.

During the second week of May, in Albuquerque and across our branch campuses in Gallup, Los Alamos, Taos and Valencia County, more than 3,000 students will be awarded certificates and degrees attesting to their academic accomplishments at UNM. Well-wishers will have the opportunity to celebrate with them in some 40 different events, anchored by the main commencement ceremony at the Pit on Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m.

We who work at UNM tend to think of a student’s graduation as the end of a journey, one in which we’ve had the privilege of sharing knowledge and discovery with them, and seeing its impact on their lives. While we hope that our alumni will return regularly to visit, we know the special relationships we have enjoyed with them during their enrollments at UNM are coming to a close.

But as the word “commencement” reminds us, our work is ultimately not about conclusions but about beginnings. In all our core missions – education, research, patient care and public service – our objectives are future-focused. We seek to equip all those who enter our classrooms and laboratories with the resources to lead “the lives they have imagined,” as Henry Thoreau put it; so that they, in turn, can make a positive difference in the lives of their families and communities. All our policies and plans, committees and councils, budgets and buildings, are all subordinate to this one great task. Nothing else matters as much.

So I encourage anyone who can, to participate in this special time in the life of our university and our students by attending some of the convocation or commencement events as you are able. Let’s give them a great send-off, as we celebrate all their achievements and contributions to UNM.

Congratulations graduates! Go Lobos!