UNM-LA holds 31st Annual Graduation Convocation

UNM-Los Alamos graduates recite the Pledge of Allegiance during Thursday’s 31st annual graduation convocation at Duane Smith Auditorium. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon

By Bonnie Gordon

UNM-Los Alamos celebrated its 31st annual Graduation Convocation on May 10, 2012. Five students received bachelor’s degrees, 39 received associate degrees, 5 received academic certificates and 8 students received General Educational Development Diplomas.

Convocation Speaker Dr. Chaouki T. Abdallah is the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of New Mexico. He is currently a professor and chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at UNM.

Dr. Abdallah asked the graduates to think about lampposts and brick walls. He reminded the audience of the person who searches for their keys under the lamppost because that’s where the light is, even though the keys were lost elsewhere.

“Look where the light is, but do venture out from there,” he said. “Be willing to be wrong and be willing to change your mind.”

Brick walls are there to stop people who don’t want their goal enough, Abdallah said. They are also there to stop people who are not clever enough to find another solution to the problem, such as going over or around the wall, he noted.

Dr. Thomas Beach, president of the Faculty Assembly, announced the winner of the Faculty Initiative Award, which provides $3,500 to a UNM-LA faculty member to be used to complete an academic project or goal. Dr. James Cook received the award for his plan to write an introduction to the physics lab and design experiments to go with it.

Recognition was given to Ivette Jimenez, who was named to the 2012 New Mexico All-State Academic Team.

Sandra TamuPovi, who received a Bachelor of University Studies degree at the ceremony, spoke on behalf of those receiving bachelor’s degrees.

“I encourage all of you to think about what it took for you to get here,” TamuPovi said. “Hold it of value. It was not only a choice, but a dream come true.”

TamuPovi recalled how proud she was when her mother received her nursing degree. Her own 4-year-old daughter was watching her receive her own diploma. “We do this so our children can have a better life,” TamuPovi said. “We share this accomplishment with our children.”

Jeffrey Bold spoke on behalf of those receiving associate degrees. Bold received his Associate of Arts in Pre-Business Administration.

“College was at the bottom of my list when I graduated [from high school], but I never stopped learning,” Bold said.

Upon returning to school, Bold decided to focus on environmental accounting.

“This accomplishment is about our responsibility to apply ourselves and to make the world a better place,” hed said.

Associate UNM Provost Dr. Wynn Goering, speaking on behalf of the Office of the UNM President, urged the graduates to show others the way. He invited the graduates to “come down to UNM and learn from the best.”

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