Scenes From 2019 UNM-LA Graduation Ceremony

The second largest graduating class in UNM-Los Alamos history crossed the stage Friday at the Duane Smith Auditorium to receive their diplomas. While enrollments in higher education around the state continue to decline, UNM-LA is experiencing three consecutive years of significant growth. This semester there were 1,146 students enrolled in academic courses at UNM-LA. UNM-LA granted awards to more than 100 top students earning degrees. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
UNM-LA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Cynthia J. Rooney lead the procession into the auditorium and onto the stage Friday evening at Duane Smith Auditorium. Dr. Rooney is carried the UNM-LA mace, a traditional symbol of university scholarship and integrity used by higher education institutions for special ceremonial occasions to signify the importance of the event and the conformation of the academic process. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Dr. Thom Mason was an honored guest and addressed the students at the event. ‘Luck is what happens when you’re well prepared,’ Mason told the graduates. ‘Consider your education a tool and use it wisely.’ Mason reminded graduates that the Lab is accepting applications for many kinds of jobs. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
New Mexico Secretary of Higher Education Dr. Kate O’Neill urged the graduates to be role models for others. ‘Stay alive, stay curious, stay generous,’ she said. ‘Stay the course your imagination has set for you.’ Dr. O’Neill was CEO of UNM-Taos from 2016-2016. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Student speakers Kristopher Briceno, representing the students earning their High School Equivalency credential and Doniel McNevin, speaking for students earning Associate Degrees and Certificates. Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus is on the right. Briceno, 23, is a resident at Delancey Street Foundation in Alcalde. Though Briceno grew up with a caring and supportive family, he struggled to stay on the right path, he said. ‘I managed to pull myself together and successfully earn this high school equivalency with the help and support of UNM-LA, the Rotary Club and  The Delancey Street Foundation,’ Briceno said. McNevin is a member of the UNM-LA Student Government and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. She thanked her parents for giving her the gift of a home school education. ‘Don’t let fear stop you from achieving your dreams,’ McNevin said. ‘Push through your fear and do what makes you squirm in your skin.’ She urged students to be humble and help others. ‘Be a world changer,’ McNevin said. McNevin will attend Grand Canyon University where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Photo by  Bonnie J. Gordon/
Dr Leslie Dendy, left, gets a hug from Dr. Cynthia Rooney. Dr. Dendy is retiring this year. She has been on the UNM-LA faculty since the fall of 1973, even before UNM-LA was officially established in 1980. She has taught 19 different undergraduate biology courses, four chemistry courses, one natural science course, 11 sessions of Children’s College and three community education classes. Dr. Dendy has served as Curriculum Coordinator for Science while mentoring hundreds of students for more than 40 years. Based on her significant and valued service to the campus, the unanimous vote of the faculty and the approval of the Provost at UNM-Albuquerque, Dr. Dendy has been officially granted Emerita status for UNM. Photo by  Bonnie J. Gordon/
New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard gives a congratulatory hug to graduate George Hrbek as he shakes hands with dignataries on the stage. Photo by  Bonnie J. Gordon/
Marcell White, left, and Kristopher Briceno congratulate each other on earning their High School Equivelency Credentials. Photo by  Bonnie J. Gordon/
Moira Kuropatwinski shakes hands with Dr. Cynthia Rooney. Photo by  Bonnie J. Gordon/
Graduates pose for photos with their diplomas after the ceremony. Photo by  Bonnie J. Gordon/
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