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The University of New Mexico


Media Contact: Steve Carr, (505) 277-1821
e-mail scarr@unm.edu

September 26, 2007

UNM’s Alumni Association to Recognize Six with Zia Award at All-University Breakfast Saturday, Sept. 29 Interim

Provost Viola Florez to be recognized as Mortar Board Lobo award winner

The UNM Alumni Association will honor six alumni with its Zia Award at its annual All-University Breakfast Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007 at 9 a.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel. The recipients include: Monica Armenta, Steve Bacchus, Brian Burnett, Leonard DeLayo, Jr., Sandra Begay-Campbell and Chuck Wellborn. Additionally, this year’s recipient of the Lobo Award is interim UNM Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Viola “Vi” Florez.

Individuals interested in attending the All-University Breakfast may do so by registering online at: http://www.unmalumni.com/homecoming/ or by contacting the UNM Alumni Relations office at (505) 277-5808. Tickets are $15 per person and reservations are required. The Embassy Suites Hotel is located at 1000 Woodward Pl., N.E.


The Zia Award is presented to UNM alumni living in New Mexico, who have distinguished themselves in one, or many, of the following areas including: philanthropic endeavors, public office, service to the University, community and volunteer activities, business/professional fields, or who have made a contribution to education.

Monica Armenta

In July 2007, Armenta became the executive director of the Albuquerque Public Schools communications department, after more than two decades in television news at the local NBC affiliate, KOB. She currently oversees all internal and external communications for Albuquerque Public Schools. She originally joined APS as part of its Foundation in December 2005

After graduating from UNM in 1984 with a bachelor of arts in journalism, Armenta was hired to be a reporter and fill-in anchor for the morning news. In less than two years, she became the co-anchor of the number one morning news show. In addition, Armenta also co-anchored a noon show and “Eye On New Mexico,” a KOB TV public affairs talk show.

She started at KOB as an intern while still attending UNM. While at the University, she was the SPJ-SDX Student President, and she won the New Mexico Broadcaster Association Scholarship in 1984.

Steve Bacchus (posthumous)

A truly great UNM alum, Bacchus received his bachelor of arts in Management from the Anderson School of Management in 1966 and his MBA in 1968. Bacchus was a fine athlete at UNM lettering in basketball (1962-1965).

Additionally, he was a member of the Alumni Lettermen’s Association and was active in the Sigma Chi fraternity. He was also a stalwart UNM Alumni Board Member from 1999-2005 and served as president of the Association in 2003-04.

Brian Burnett

Burnett, president, Bohannan Huston, received his Civil Engineering degree from UNM in 1978 and went on to obtain his Master’s in Hydrology and Water Resources in 1980. He is a graduate of the 1989 class of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Albuquerque Program and a 2000 graduate of Leadership New Mexico.

A recognized leader in the Albuquerque community, Burnett has held numerous committee and leadership positions working to create a stronger business climate by bringing together business organizations to discuss strategies that address issues of education, growth, water and economic development. He is the immediate Past-President of ACEC-New Mexico and served as NAIOP New Mexico President for 2004. In addition, he is a past President of the UNM Alumni Association and currently serves on the Presbyterian Healthcare System Albuquerque Board of Directors.

Through his leadership role in a variety of organizations and community service groups, Burnett actively promotes New Mexico growth, direction in water issues, and support in creating jobs for New Mexicans and their children. He currently chairs Gov. Bill Richardson's Blue Ribbon Water Task Force, providing him an opportunity to be at the heart of water issues facing the State of New Mexico.

Leonard DeLayo, Jr.

DeLayo, who graduated from UNM with both a bachelor of arts (1971) and a juris doctorate (1974), is currently a practicing attorney with more than 30 years of general and corporate practice with a primary emphasis on commercial litigation; corporate; employer/employee relations; real estate; fiduciary matters and financial institutions. He is a member of the New Mexico Bar Association, American Bar Association, New Mexico and American Trial Lawyers Associations and the Albuquerque Bar Association.

Since 1987, DeLayo held a variety of positions for the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education including secretary, vice president and president, a position he held from 1992-2003 when he retired from the board. He has also served within the community on a number of other boards including the UNM Presidential Scholarship Foundation drive.

Sandra Begay-Campbell

Former UNM Regent Sandra Begay-Campbell is a principal member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories. In her position she leads Sandia’s technical efforts in the Renewable Energy Program to assist tribes with renewable energy development.

In 1987, Begay-Campbell received a bachelor of science in Civil Engineering degree from UNM. She worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories before she earned a master’s of science - Structural Engineering degree from Stanford University and she also worked previously at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Begay-Campbell is also the past recipient of the 2005 UNM School of Engineering Distinguished Alumnus Award. She received the Stanford University 2000 Multicultural Alumni of the Year Award and was selected as a recipient of the Governor's Award for Outstanding Women from the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women.

Chuck Wellborn

Wellborn graduated from UNM in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He was the first in his family to obtain a college education. He also earned a law degree, and later, a master of laws degree from New York University. Wellborn is currently working for the McCune Charitable Foundation creating economic development projects in rural and low-income areas of New Mexico and assisting in the creation of New Mexico Community Capital, a $15 million community development venture capital fund.

In 1995 Wellborn became the founding president and CEO of the Science & Technology Corporation @ UNM, a nonprofit corporation, recently renamed STC.UNM, created by UNM to serve as its technology commercialization arm. Previously, he was a shareholder in the law firm of Modrall, Sperling in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s largest law firm, where he practiced law for 30 years primarily representing business organizations, including a number of technology-based start-up companies. He serves on the board of directors of the Association of Commerce and Industry, the New Mexico Tax Research Institute, the MIND Institute and STC.UNM.


The Lobo Award is presented to a UNM individual who has demonstrated outstanding personal service to the institution or for notable career achievements that reflect credit on the University.

Viola “Vi” Florez

Florez, who served as the dean at the UNM College of Education prior to her appointment in June 2007 as interim provost, earned her bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Humanities from Ft. Lewis College, a master’s in Education from the University of Colorado and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M-Kingsville.

At UNM, Florez has focused on diversity, faculty investment, improvement of undergraduate and graduate education, and P-20 education as her major priorities. Her major accomplishments include achieving national rankings for the College of Education in U.S. News and World Report, increasing faculty and student diversity, securing funding for building renewal and new construction, and outreach with educational partners.

Throughout her career, Florez has been dedicated to academic quality and access and equity for all students, especially students pursuing higher education. She has published numerous articles, book chapters, monographs and other scholarly works in the field of teacher education, leadership, educational policy, reading/literacy with a major focus on multiculturalism, and second language acquisition.

Media Note…individual photos for each recipient are available upon request. Please contact Sr. University Communication Representative Steve Carr at (505) 277-1821 for photos and or interviews.


The University of New Mexico is the state's largest university, serving more than 32,000 students. UNM is home to the state's only schools of law, medicine, pharmacy and architecture and operates New Mexico's only academic health center. UNM is noted for comprehensive undergraduate programs and research that benefits the state and the nation.