UNM inaugurates new president, unveils the new 'U'

By Tim Carpenter / CJ 475 Reporter
Posted Dec. 4, 2012

Pomp and circumstance took place earlier this month at Popejoy Hall as University of New Mexico President Robert G. Frank was formally sworn as the 21st president of the university. Frank, who has been president of the university since June 1, addressed attendees and talked his vision for the future at UNM.

Frank does double duty
[+] Click HERE for slideshow w/audio
By Tim Carpenter

UNM community celebrates inauguration and unveiling of the new "U."

"Since coming here I have listened to students, faculty, staff, parents and others in the community, and I will take what everyone said with heart and very seriously," Frank said.

UNM Board of Regents head Jack Fortner addressed the audience and formally made the presentation of installing Frank as president of UNM.

"The installation is the formal occasion which the new president is charged with the duties and the office of the university, more than that is the trying of promise and anticipation in which all of us to find a path you will follow. The Board of Regents have chosen Robert Frank because we believe he has the vision, the leadership, energy and the integrity to guide our efforts as we take this university the next level of greatness," Fortner said.

During the ceremony, UNM music Professor Michael Chapdelaine performed a composition on his guitar from The Beatles' famous song "Come Together." He was happy to perform at the inauguration.

"I was thrilled that the inauguration committee asked me to perform at Dr. Frank's inauguration, and Dr. Frank and his family came up to me after the ceremony, and they said they enjoyed the performance and it made me feel good," Chapdelaine said.

After the ceremony, UNM executives, faculty, staff and guests headed down to Hodgin Hall for a reception and the unveiling of the new bronze "U" statue. In 1922, a large "U" was placed atop Hodgin Hall and was lit when the football team was victorious. The new "U" stands 12 feet tall, 8 feet wide and weighs 3,000 lbs. it is made from cast bronze and has almost 17 million light combinations possible.

Donald "Duffy" Swan, president of the UNM Alumni Association, talked how the new "U" will be used on campus now and in the future.

"We will light the "U" in red when the football team wins, for academic achievement, for conference championships, for national championships, for soccer championships, and we'll do it with the interstate rivalry with New Mexico State University," Swan said.

Frank addressed the attendees and said he would uphold the traditions of the university.

"I am thrilled to do my part on behalf of the university and do my best everyday to do what is best for the University of New Mexico," Frank said.

Although Frank wanted to stay longer for the reception, there was only one problem.

"My wife gave me instructions again: 'Make it quick, my feet hurt,'" Frank said in reference to his wife wearing high-heel shoes.

After Frank's comments, Swan along with Lobo Louie and Lucy unveiled the new "U." Swan gave a five second countdown to light up the "U" and the guests were given small flashlight key to help light up as well. There were cheers, applause and the Lobo spirit band playing "Hail Thee New Mexico."