University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico
Motto Lux Hominum Vita (Latin)
Motto in English
Life, the Light of Men
Type Public, State Flagship
Established February 28, 1889 (1889-02-28)
Endowment $403.7 million (2015)[1]
President Robert G. Frank
Administrative staff
Students 27,353 (Fall 2015)[3]
Undergraduates 19,886 (Fall 2015)[3]
Postgraduates 7,467 (Fall 2015)[3]
Location Albuquerque, New Mexico
Campus Urban, 600 acres (2.4 km²)
Colors Cherry, Silver[4]
Athletics NCAA Division IMountain West Conference
Nickname Lobos

The University of New Mexico (also referred to as UNM) is a public research university located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is New Mexico's flagship research institution, the largest post-secondary institution in the state in total enrollment across all campuses as of 2012,[2][5] and one of the state's largest employers.

Founded in 1889, UNM offers bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and professional degree programs in a wide variety of fields. Its Albuquerque campus currently encompasses over 600 acres (2.4 km²), and there are branch campuses in Gallup, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Taos, and Los Lunas.[6]Coordinates: 35°05′02″N 106°37′07″W / 35.08389°N 106.61861°W / 35.08389; -106.61861 UNM is categorized as an RU/VH Research University (very high research activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, with three Nobel laureates affiliated or associated.



Hodgin Hall, the first building on campus. The facade has changed, and the building is now used by the Alumni Association.

The University of New Mexico was founded on February 28, 1889, with the passage of House Bill No. 186 by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of New Mexico; stipulating that "Said institution is hereby located at or near the town of Albuquerque, in the county of Bernalillo within two miles north of railroad avenue in said town, upon a tract of good high and dry land, of not less than twenty acres suitable for the purposes of such institution," and that it would be the state university when New Mexico became a state. Bernard Shandon Rodey, a judge of the territory of New Mexico, pushed for Albuquerque as the location of the university and was one of the authors of the statute that created UNM, earning him the title of "Father of the University." Two years later, Elias S. Stover became the first president of the University and the following year the university's first building, Hodgin Hall, opened.

Early growth

The third president of UNM, William G. Tight, who served from 1901–09, introduced many programs for students and faculty, including the first fraternity and sorority. Tight introduced the Pueblo Revival architecture for which the campus has become known. During Tight's term, the first Pueblo Revival style building on campus, the Estufa, was constructed, and the Victorian-style Hodgin Hall was plastered over to create a monument to Pueblo Indian culture. However, Tight was vilified for his primitivism and was removed from office for political reasons, though history would vindicate him as the Pueblo Revival style became the dominant architectural style on campus.

Under David Ross Boyd, the university's fifth president, the campus was enlarged from 20 to 300 acres (1.2 km2) and a 200,000-acre (810 km2) federal land grant was made to the university. In 1922, the university was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. During this time, more facilities were constructed for the university, but it was under the tenure of James F. Zimmerman, the university's seventh president, that the university underwent its first major expansion. Under Zimmerman, many new buildings were constructed, student enrollment increased, new departments were added, and greater support was generated for scientific research. Among the new buildings constructed were Zimmerman Library, Scholes Hall, the first student union building (now the anthropology complex), the university's first gymnasium and its first stadium. John Gaw Meem, a famed Santa Fe architect, was contracted to design many of the buildings constructed during this period, and is credited with imbuing the campus with its distinctive Pueblo Revival style.

World War II and beyond

Mesa Vista Hall.

During World War II, University of New Mexico was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[7]

Thomas L. Popejoy, the ninth and the first native New Mexican university president, was appointed in 1948 and oversaw the university through the next twenty years, a period of major growth for the university. During this time, enrollment jumped from nearly 5,000 to more than 14,000, new programs such as medicine, nursing, dental, and law were founded, and new facilities such as Mesa Vista Hall, Mitchell Hall, Johnson Gymnasium, new dormitories, the current student union building, the College of Education complex, the business center, the engineering complex, the Fine Arts Center, the Student Health Center, University Stadium, University Arena (now officially known by its nickname of The Pit), and the first facilities on North Campus were constructed. This period also saw the foundation of UNM's branch facilities in Los Alamos and Gallup and the acquisition of the D.H. Lawrence Ranch north of Taos.

During the early 1970s, a series of protests were held at the university and some of them turned violent. On May 5, 1970, a protest over the Vietnam War and the Kent State massacre occupied the Student Union Building. The National Guard was ordered to sweep the building and arrest those inside; eleven students and journalists were bayonetted when those outside did not hear the order to disperse given inside.[8] On May 10, 1972, a peaceful sit-in protest near Kirtland Air Force Base led to the arrest of thirty-five people and was pushed back to UNM, leading to eight more arrests. The following day, tear gas was used against hundreds of demonstrators on campus and the situation continued to deteriorate, leading to the university to declare a state of emergency.

Humanities Building, added in 1970

New programs and schools were created in the 1970s and the university gained control over the hospital on North Campus. New facilities for the medical and law schools were constructed on North Campus and new Main Campus buildings were constructed on the site of the now demolished Zimmerman Field and Stadium, including Ortega Hall, Woodward Hall, the Humanities building, and the Art building. The campus also underwent a new landscaping plan, which included the construction of the duck pond west of Zimmerman Library and the conversion of many streets to pedestrian malls in order to make a more pedestrian-friendly campus.

At the end of the decade, the university was implicated in a recruiting scandal dubbed "Lobogate" by the press. An FBI wiretap on the phone of a prominent Lobo booster recorded a conversation in which basketball head coach Norm Ellenberger arranged with assistant coach Manny Goldstein to transfer bogus credits from a California junior college to the office of the UNM registrar. Subsequent investigation turned up a manufactured college seal from Mercer County Community College in New Jersey, along with blank transcripts and records of previous forgery. Further investigation uncovered alleged incentives like cars and apartments doled out to prime players and exposed a vast network of sports gambling. The scandal forced Ellenberger to resign and defined the term of William E. Davis, UNM's eleventh president.

Recent history

Dane Smith Hall, built in 1999 (above),
George Pearl Hall, built in 2006 (below)

The university has continued to grow, with expanding enrollment and new facilities. In the 1980s, dramatic expansion occurred at the medical center, business school, and engineering school. The Centennial Library was also constructed. During the 1990s, an Honors College was founded, and the university completed construction of a new bookstore and Dane Smith Hall. The Research Park at South Campus was also expanded.

By this point, the university had one of the largest student and faculty populations of Hispanics and Native Americans in the country. A study released in 1995 showed that the number of full-time Hispanic faculty at UNM was four times greater than the national average and the number of Native American teachers five times greater. The schools of law and business had some of the largest Hispanic student populations of any university in the country.

In the first decade of the 2000s, major expansion began on medical facilities on North Campus. The current visitor center, a new engineering center, and George Pearl Hall were constructed. Renovations and expansions were undertaken on several buildings on Main Campus, along with the creation of a branch campus in Rio Rancho. This wave of construction is continuing at present with more projects ongoing.

In 2016, UNM was the first university in the country to launch a Signature School Program with the Central Intelligence Agency, which enables students to interact with analysts and learn how to join the CIA once they graduate.[9]


The main campus is located on 600 acres (2.4 km2) in Albuquerque on the heights a mile east of Downtown Albuquerque, and is split in three parts – central, north, and south. The central campus is situated between Central Avenue on the south, Girard Boulevard on the east, Lomas Boulevard on the north, and University Boulevard on the west, and is home to the main academic university. The North Campus, which includes the medical and law schools as well as the University of New Mexico Hospital, is located on the north side of Lomas across from the central campus. The South campus is located a mile south of the central campus, centered around the intersection of University Boulevard and Avenida César Chavez, and includes most of UNM's athletic facilities. The central campus is noted for its unique Pueblo Revival architectural style, with many of the buildings designed by former university architect John Gaw Meem, who is credited with imbuing the campus with its distinctive Southwestern feel. The central campus is also home to the University of New Mexico Arboretum, which contains some 320 species of woody plants.

Carlisle Gymnasium

Eight university buildings are listed separately on the National Register of Historic Places, including Hodgin Hall, the university's first building, and two adjacent structures, the Art Annex and Sara Reynolds Hall. The Estufa, one of the first Pueblo Revival style structures in the country and the first on campus, is also on the list. Other structures on the registry are Carlisle Gymnasium, Jonson Gallery, Scholes Hall, and the University House.

The central campus is home to four museums: the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology in the anthropology building, the Geology and Meteorite Museums in Northrop Hall, the Southwest Biology Museum in the CERIA building, and the University Art Museum in the Center for the Arts.

In an effort to promote sustainability and lessen the environmental impact of the campus, UNM has been reducing the campus energy usage through monitoring and retrofitting cooling, heating, water, and lighting technologies.[10] Due to these efforts, the University of New Mexico's grade on the College Sustainability Report Card 2009 improved from a "C" to a "B" according to the Sustainable Endowments Institute.[11] Since 2008, following an executive order that all new state buildings over 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) need to meet LEED silver at minimum, all new construction on campus has been registered for LEED status. So far, an expansion of Castetter Hall and the Technology and Education Center are the only LEED-certified buildings on campus, with a Gold and Platinum rating respectively. Several other buildings are currently registered for LEED status.


Zimmerman Library

The primary UNM library units are the Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, the Law Library, and the University Libraries, which consists of:[12]

Departmental libraries include:


The University of New Mexico offers more than 215-degree and certificate programs, including 94 baccalaureate, 71 masters and 37 doctoral degrees, through 12 colleges and schools.[13] The colleges are as follows:


UNM Rankings (2016)
by U.S. News & World Report[14]
Medical School:Research 83 (tie)
Medical School:Primary Care 35 (tie)
Law School 71 (tie)
Engineering School 85 (tie)
University rankings
ARWU[15] 72-98
Forbes[16] 368
U.S. News & World Report[17] 180
Washington Monthly[18] 225
ARWU[19] 201-300
QS[20] 461-470
Times[21] 351-400
U.S. News & World Report[22] 192

The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked UNM at 201–300 out of world universities and 72-98 out of U.S. universities in 2016, while The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) ranked UNM 181st on its world university rankings list and 78th in the United States in 2015, which is up from 185th and 82nd respectively in 2014.[23] High Impact Universities Research Performance Index (RPI) ranked UNM 112th in 2011 in their Top 500 Universities worldwide.[24]

U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) ranked UNM at tied for 180th in the country in their 2016 ranking of "Best Colleges".[14] USN&WR in 2016 also ranked the University of New Mexico School of Medicine tied for 35th in primary care and tied for 83rd in research, with the Rural Medicine residency program as 2nd best in the country and the Family Medicine residency program 10th.[14] The University of New Mexico School of Law is ranked by USN&WR in 2016 as tied for 71st in the country, with the Clinical Law program ranked 10th nationwide, while The School of Engineering was ranked tied for 85th.[14] Also, according to USN&WR 2016 rankings, the school has the 5th best graduate program in photography and 17th best graduate program in printmaking. Other programs ranked in the top 50 nationwide by USN&WR in 2016 include occupational therapy (36), pharmacy (48), and earth sciences (49).[14]

The Princeton Review listed UNM as a "Best Western College" and ranked the School of Engineering 14th out of the graduate engineering programs nationally.

The University of New Mexico Model United Nations team is one of the top ranked teams in the country, with multiple awards at several different competitions, most notably, the Harvard World Model United Competition in Geneva, Switzerland and Puebla, Mexico. They have also competed and won awards at the St. Mary's University Model Organization of American States Conference.[25]


Fall Freshman Statistics[26][27][28][29][30]
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010
Applicants 12,574 11,995 11,467 11,410 11,220
Admits 5,706 6,799 7,405 7,288 7,459
% Admitted 45.4 56.7 64.6 63.9 66.5
Enrolled 3,132 3,518 3,424 3,341 3,604
Average GPA 3.40 3.37 3.39 3.18 3.29
SAT Range* 965-1240 950-1220 940-1210 940-1190 960-1240
ACT Range 20-25 19-25 19-25 19-25 19-25
* SAT out of 1600

Admission to UNM is rated as "selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[31]

For Fall 2014, UNM received 12,574 freshmen applications; 5,706 were admitted (45.4%).[30] The average GPA of the enrolled freshmen was 3.40, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 480-620 for critical reading and 485-620 for math.[30] The middle 50% range of the ACT Composite score was 20-25.[30]


Main article: New Mexico Lobos

UNM's NCAA Division I program (FBS for football) offers 16 varsity sports known as the Lobos, who compete in the Mountain West Conference. Two human mascots, referred to as Lobo Louie and Lobo Lucy, rouse crowds at New Mexico athletic events. The official school colors are cherry and silver.[32]

The UNM women's cross-country team won the NCAA championship in 2015.

New Mexico won the National title for Division I Skiing in 2004 defeating then No. 1 ranked University of Denver. The men's soccer team was National Runner-up in Division I Soccer losing in overtime to the University of Maryland in 2005 as the No. 2 seed, the highest ranking for a UNM soccer team in school history.


UNM maintains strong athletic rivalries with New Mexico State University. The UNM-NMSU rivalry is represented by the Rio Grande Rivalry, a series based on points awarded to the winners of head to head competitions between the two universities in every sport. A rotating trophy is granting to the winning university for a period of one year, until the award presentation the following year. The rivalry is celebrated at UNM by the Red Rally, a large bonfire that takes place the Thursday before the UNM-NMSU football game.


The Lobo men's basketball team is famous for its venue, The Pit. It may be best known as the site of the 1983 NCAA basketball championship, in which North Carolina State University, coached by Jim Valvano, upset the University of Houston.

The UNM women's basketball team has won the Mountain West championship for four of the past five years, and have gone to the NCAA Tournament for the past six consecutive years.


The Lobo football team plays at University Stadium, which is located across the street from The Pit.

The team has been to six bowl games since 1997 after a 35-year bowl drought. Placekicker Katie Hnida made history in the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl when she became the first woman to play in a NCAA Division I-A game, attempting but missing an extra point in the Lobos's 27–13 loss to UCLA. She later attempted and made two extra points in UNM's 72–8 victory over Texas State. New Mexico also lost its 2003 and 2004 bowl games, making its record in bowl games 2–8–1. The football team went to the first year of the New Mexico Bowl in 2006 and lost to San Jose State University 20–12. In 2007 the Lobos finished the regular season 8–4 and were invited to the New Mexico Bowl for the second straight season. The Lobos shut out the favored Nevada Wolf Pack 23-0 to win their first bowl game since the 1961 Aviation Bowl.

Student life

Redondo Village, a Residence Hall at UNM

The main university campus is located in the lower Heights of Albuquerque just east of Downtown Albuquerque, and is the focal point for the neighborhoods surrounding it; the neighborhoods to the immediate south and west are home to a large population of students. However, the vast majority of UNM's student population live off-campus around the Albuquerque metropolitan area, with only just over 2,000 living in on-campus housing.

The Student Union Building (SUB) is a major activity center for students on-campus, with a food court, a movie theater, event facilities, student government and organization offices, student services, and recreation areas. Another major hotspot for students is the popular Frontier Restaurant, a late-night eatery located across Central Avenue from main campus and a popular meeting spot for students. The Duck Pond is a popular relaxation spot for students and local residents, particularly in the warmer months.

Student organizations

There are over 400 student-run organizations on campus, which include academic, athletic, ethnic, honorary, political, religious, and service groups, as well as fraternities and sororities.

Student government


The Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) is the undergraduate student government of UNM, with an elected student body president, vice-president, student court, and 20 senators. Senators are elected to two semester terms, there are two elections each school year, in each, 10 senators are elected, many candidates run in slates. There are different agencies within ASUNM, such as Lobo Spirit and Community Experience.[33]


The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) is the graduate student government of UNM, led by an elected President and a representative council from the different schools of study on campus since 1969.

Greek life

The University of New Mexico is home to several fraternities and sororities, around 5% of the UNM student body is involved in Greek life.

Song and chant traditions
UNM Alma Mater

New Mexico, New Mexico
We sing to honor thee.
This golden haze of college days
Will live in memory.
This praise we sing will ever ring
With truth and loyalty New Mexico,
your fame we know
Will last eternally.

UNM Fight Song

Hail to thee, New Mexico,
The loyal sons are we.
Marching down the field we go,
Fighting for thee.
Now we pledge our faith to thee,
Never shall we fail.
Fighting ever, yielding never.

To listen:[35]



UNM owns and operates KUNM-FM, one of two National Public Radio stations in Albuquerque. In 2008, KUNM-FM won 16 Associated Press awards, including Station of the Year.[36] UNM also owns and operates the University of New Mexico Press, its publishing arm established in 1929.[37] With Albuquerque Public Schools, UNM also operates New Mexico PBS,[38] Albuquerque's public television station which currently broadcasts in High Definition Digital on two channels, English and Spanish.[38]The Daily Lobo is UNM's student-run daily newspaper and is an award-winning publication serving the metro area.[39]






  1. As of June 30, 2015. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2014 to FY 2015" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2016.
  2. 1 2 "UNM Factbook 2009–10" (PDF). University of New Mexico. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
  3. 1 2 3 "The University of New Mexico Fall 2015 Official Enrollment Report Albuquerque Campus" (PDF). The University of New Mexico. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  4. "University Identity Standards" (PDF).
  5. "CNM Factbook 2009–10" (PDF). CENTRAL NEW MEXICO COMMUNITY COLLEGE. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
  6. "Campuses & Special Programs | The University of New Mexico". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  7. "Naval Training and Education Yearbooks in the Navy Department Library". Department of the Navy. 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  8. Associated Press (May 10, 1970). "Arsonists Strike on 2 Campuses". The Modesto Bee. pp. A–2. Retrieved 2010-12-05. National Guardsmen were withdrawn from the University of New Mexico late Friday after a confrontation with students that sent 11 people to the hospital with bayonet wounds.
  9. "CIA Launches Signature School Program at The University of New Mexico". Central Intelligence Agency. November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2016. The program will deepen cooperation between the Agency and the UNM and result in more opportunities for students and faculty to engage Agency officers and learn about employment opportunities.
  10. "UNM Cuts Energy Usage 13.4%, Reduces Utility Spending by $2.4 Million". University of New Mexico. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  11. "College Sustainability Report Card 2009". Sustainable Endowments Institute. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  13. "Academic Programs at The University of New Mexico". The University of New Mexico. Retrieved January 28, 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 "U.S. News Best Colleges Rankings - University of New Mexico". U.S. News & World Report. 2015. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  15. "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016: USA". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  16. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  17. "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  18. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
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  22. "Best Global Universities Rankings: 2017". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
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  24. "High Impact Universities 2010". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11.
  25. Westervelt, Michael (2008-04-08) UNM wins 5 awards at Model U.N. event at the Wayback Machine (archived March 2, 2009).
  26. "Common Data Set 2010-2011" (PDF). University of New Mexico.
  27. "Common Data Set 2011-2012" (PDF). University of New Mexico.
  28. "Common Data Set 2012-2013" (PDF). University of New Mexico.
  29. "Common Data Set 2013-2014" (PDF). University of New Mexico.
  30. 1 2 3 4 "Common Data Set 2014-2015" (PDF). University of New Mexico.
  31. "University of New Mexico". U.S. News & World Report. 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  32. "Approved UNM Colors" (PDF). University Identity Standards. University of New Mexico. October 2007. p. 25. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  33. About Us.
  34. "New Mexico Official Athletic Site – Athletic Program". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  35. 1 2 "New Mexico Official Athletic Site – Athletic Program". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  36. "KUNM-FM 89.9 Home". Retrieved 2011-03-16.
  37. University of New Mexico Press. Retrieved on 2013-02-27.
  38. 1 2 "New Mexico PBS". New Mexico PBS. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  39. "New Mexico Daily Lobo :: The Independent Voice of University of New Mexico since 1895". Retrieved 2011-03-16.

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