GAAAC LogoThe Aluminaria Award

It is our pleasure to introduce to you the many alums who brighten lives.

The Aluminaria Award honors alumni who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better, brighter place through community service, excellence in the workplace and/or contributions to society above and beyond what is required. By becoming silent "heroes" these alumni heighten the profile of UNM, inspiring others to follow in their path.

For more information on the Aluminaria Award, contact Kim Feldman at Nominate a community member who "brightens" lives today!

Aluminating Awardees:

Scott Abbate, ’2004 BA
Scott received the Aluminaria Award for his role as President of the Active 20-30 group and for his service on their national board. Active 20-30 is a group of young professionals who work to support community and charitable organizations that benefit the children of New Mexico. Scott also serves as a board member of High Desert neighborhood association.

Barbara Clark Diekman
Barbara received the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity's prestigious Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award in honor of her professional achievements. Diekman studied child development at UNM and has served women and families for 56 years as a licensed marriage and family therapist. Many of her clients have included military personnel, veterans and their families. Throughout her professional life she has counseled families and volunteered with parents and children to attain better communication skills in order to keep the family unit together. Diekman has served on numerous boards and Chapters of Counseling and Family Therapists and taught classes and trainings to ensure people at better and stable life.

Loren Dils, ’95 MBA
UNM Assistant Tennis Coach for 13 years, Loren Dils, had to step down from coaching Division I Tennis because of his diagnosis of ALS. But that has not stopped him from coaching tennis. He now volunteers as a tennis coach with the Jefferson Middle School Jets in Albuquerque. He leads drills, builds camaraderie, cheers the team on, and offers advice to young children and their parents – all from a wheelchair. His enthusiasm brings accolades. And his smile is bigger than ever.

John Kynor, ’03 BBA
John was awarded the Aluminaria award for his work and fundraising for Dental Care in Your Home, which provides care to veteran, PTSD, and children and seniors.

Texan Martin, ’2013 BA, 2016 MPA
Texanna, past GPSA President, has spearheaded numerous UNM building projects: Graduate Commons in Zimmerman Library and the Student Veteran Support Building. Her efforts have provided students easier and more productive places to study and socialize on campus. She has also been recognized for her role in advising and helping UNM graduate students and veterans whenever she can.

Dr. Matthew J. Martinez, ’97 BA
Dr. Matthew J. Martinez was born and raised at Ohkay Owingeh. He graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from the University of New Mexico (Magna Cum Laude). In 2000 he completed a Master of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University. He earned a PhD in American Studies and American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota in 2008. Read his biography here.

Ernest Ortega, ’82 BA
Judge Ernest Ortega, community volunteer, returned to his Taos, NM roots. He is known as "the Fan," an 'Unsung Hero.' Ortega attends sporting events in Taos and has dipped in his pocket to pay for student's shoes and entry fees for track events. He loves his role in volunteering with young people, and often advises parents. Ortega, now a magistrate judge, attended UNM’s School of Law, went to Washington DC for a stint, then returned to Taos' District Attorney's Office – to make his home town a better place to live.

Francisco ‘Paco’ Perez, ’08 JD
Recently featured by the State Department’s Hispanic Heritage Month feature, Paco was part of a team that received a Superior Honor Award from then-Secretary Clinton for his outstanding work with hostage situations in Algeria, protests throughout the Middle East, and Ebola outbreaks in Africa. He is currently the spokesperson for U.S. Embassy Cotonou in Francophone Africa. Perez helped put Benin on the map by working with outstanding YALI fellows, partnering with Akon on solar power initiatives, and training thousands of young African entrepreneurs. He worked on the House Subcommittee for the Western Hemisphere before joining the Foreign Service in 2008.

Tony Perez, ’12 BA
Perez serves as a Special Assistant to the Global Water Coordinator at USAID. Previously he served at the U.S. Department of Education SIT Graduate Institute where he provided on-ground support for the CRIS (Climate Resiliency Infrastructure Services). He was elected Vice President of Community Engagement, 2015-2017, representing USAID HECFAA (Hispanic Employees Council of Foreign Affairs Agencies and most recently won USAID’s 2015 Superior Honor Award.

Evan Thompson, ’13 BA
Evan launched a one-stop web page: for seniors to navigate services: adult day care, transportation, legal services, financial services, assisted living, medical services, so that New Mexico seniors could have resources and the convenience of accessibility in one place.

Kyla Thompson, ’66 BAED
Kyla has been instrumental in starting the Veterans Heading Home program that provides housing for homeless veterans and the New Mexico Women Veterans Smile program, which provides services to low-income woman veterans.

For questions or more information:

Alumni Relations Office
O: 505-277-5808
800-ALUM-UNM (258-6866)