LANL Director And Higher Education Dept. Cabinet Secretary To Speak At UNM-LA Convocation Ceremony

LANL Director Dr. Thom Mason
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Dr. Thom Mason is the honored guest speaker and Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Higher Education Department Dr. Kate O’Neill is the keynote speaker at the 38th UNM-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) Convocation Ceremony at 6 p.m. May 10, in Duane Smith Auditorium.
“We are excited that both Dr. Mason and Dr. O’Neill have accepted our invitation to speak to our graduates,” UNM-LA CEO Dr. Cindy Rooney said. “Their willingness to participate in the ceremony that honors our graduates demonstrates the importance they place on higher education and their commitment to UNM-Los Alamos.”

Dr. Mason told the Los Alamos Daily Post why he values education so highly.

“Education is the foundation underlying humanity’s greatest feats, from putting man on the moon to developing vaccines. It’s a powerful vehicle for progress and change,” he said. “I think one of the most admirable traits a person can have is passion for learning that doesn’t stop when the bell rings or when they graduate.”

Dr. Mason will present the first address to the graduating students. Dr. Mason is director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and president and CEO of Triad National Security, LLC (Triad). Prior to his current position, Mason was the senior vice president for Global Laboratory Operations at Battelle where he had responsibility for governance and strategy across the six National Laboratories that Battelle manages or co-manages. Mason previously worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 19 years, including 10 years as laboratory director. He has a BS in Physics from Dalhousie University and a Ph.D. in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics from McMaster University.


HED Cabinet Secretary Dr. Kate O’Neill
Dr. O’Neill will provide the keynote address at the Convocation. Dr. O’Neill is Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Higher Education Department (HED), overseeing the public university campuses across the state. O’Neill served as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The University of New Mexico-Taos (UNM-Taos) for 12 years before stepping aside in 2018. She served as special assistant to the incoming UNM-Taos CEO before being nominated by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to serve as Cabinet Secretary for HED. O’Neill graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Art History. She earned her Master’s Degree in Education and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Harvard University.
The public is invited to attend the commencement ceremony, as well as the reception following the ceremony. For further information about UNM-Los Alamos, visit or call 505.662.5919.
About UNM-LA
UNM-Los Alamos is an innovative, rigorous and affordable comprehensive branch community college that provides foundations for transfer, leading-edge career programs, and lifelong learning opportunities.