Alumni Award Recipients

Zimmerman Award

Henry Crumpton

Henry Crumpton, a former CIA operative who served as the State Department's leader in combating international terrorism from 2005 to 2007, led the campaign in Afghanistan and investigated the 1998 al-Quaeda bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and also the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Now president of the Crumpton Group, he is a member of the UNM Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Bernard S. Rodey Award

Nelson Valdes

Nelson Valdes arrived in Albuquerque from Cuba in 1961 and began work as a janitor at UNM. He eventually earned his Ph.D. in sociology and history and became a professor at his alma mater. He founded and directed the university's Latin America Data Base and was recently awarded the Ford Foundation Grant to begin work on the Cuba-L project that will serve as a clearinghouse for information on Cuba through news from around the world.

Erna S. Fergusson Award

John Brown

John Brown was a co-founder and the managing director of the Philadelphia First Group, Inc. from 1983-1993. From 1993-2000, he held various positions as a managing director, partner and chief operating officer with Coopers and Lybrand. He has completed more than 150 merger, acquisition, financing and private equity transactions in a wide range of industries. As COO, partner and managing director of Coopers & Lybrand, he coordinated the integration of its investment banking group with Price Waterhouse. In 2003, he co-founded and became managing partner of Sandia Capital Partners, LLC, a corporate finance advisory and direct investment firm. Brown serves as adjunct professor and instructor at the UNM Anderson School of Management.

Zia Award

Larry Abraham, BBA '76

Mayor, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque: Larry Abraham is lifelong New Mexico resident, a graduate of the Anderson School of Management, and a charter member of the Thomas Popejoy Society who has logged more than 30 years of entrepreneurial sales and real estate success. Abraham—who currently serves on the board of directors for the Lobo Club as a Past President—has been elected mayor of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque twice. As mayor, Abraham has helped erase the village's deficit while promoting its reputation as a unique rural community.

Steven Ciepiela, BA '77, MPA '80

President and Co-Founder, Charles Stephen and Company, Inc.: Using more than 30 years of financial expertise, Steve Ciepiela has helped create The Strategic Blueprint Formula™, a process to develop strategies to help clients achieve financial independence, and The Retirement Planning Optimization Process™, to help with retirement and transition planning. Ciepiela, who received both an undergraduate degree from UNM and a graduate degree from the UNM School of Public Administration, is a frequent speaker on financial topics, and was named one of the top 200 financial planners in America in a special issue of Money magazine.

Michael Currier, BA '65

President/CEO, Guaranty Title Company: Michael Currier's experience in the title business—he joined his family's company, Currier Abstract Co., in 1978—and leadership with state and national trade associations for the land title industry led to his appointment as president of the New Mexico Land Title Association (a distinction previously held by his grandfather and father). He was also chairman of the title agents' section of the American Land Title Association in Washington, D.C., president of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, and on the board of directors for the New Mexico Military Institute.

Nedra Matteucci, BA '72

Owner, Nedra Matteucci Galleries: A native New Mexican, Nedra Matteucci turned her lifelong passion for art into a thriving business. For more than 25 years, the Nedra Matteucci Galleries has offered the best in contemporary sculpture and painting. Much like Matteucci herself—who has served on the Santa Fe Opera Board, the 10th Anniversary Celebration chairperson for the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum—Matteucci's three galleries all give back to the community and support charitable pursuits (she received the "Corporation that Made a Difference" award from the International Women's Forum.).

Dennis Peña, BSPH '57

Retired, Evening Charge Pharmacist for The University of New Mexico Hospital: Dennis Peña has served a critical role in a number of health legislations, including sponsoring an act to provide massage therapists with educational requirements and a legal board; a memorial to keep non-handicapped drivers out of handicapped spots, and a bill to give trained nurse practitioners the right to serves as anesthesiologists in case of shortage. Peña's work in drug abuse prevention in New Mexico has made him a sought-after speaker for organizations such as the International Narcotic Officers Association.

Elba Lydia Saavedra, MS '95, PhD '04

Faculty, UNM Health Exercise and Sports/Research Assistant Professor: Elba Saavedra's commitment to researching breast cancer in New Mexican women has led to the creation of the Comadre a Comadre Project, a bilingual, bicultural program that addresses the unique needs of Hispanic women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. She has served as a member in professional groups such as the American Cancer Society, New Mexico Cancer Coalition, and the Governor's Women's Health Council.

Lobo Award

Lillian Montoya-Rael

Lillian Montoya-Rael, Principal, Flywheel Ventures: With more than 20 years of executive management, strategy, finance, and operations experience, Lillian Montoya-Rael is a native New Mexican and seasoned operations professional with a reputation for innovative, sustainable initiatives. She is a board member for several organizations, including the New Mexico Venture Capital Association, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, and the City of Santa Fe's Business and Quality of Life Committee. As an active participant in many community and business groups, the New Mexico Business Weekly has repeatedly named her a "Power Broker."

Faculty Teaching Award

Mary Domski

Mary Domski was on the faculty of the UNM Philosophy Department since 2005. She specializes in philosophy of science and the history of modern philosophy. She has also served as undergraduate advisor for philosophy for four years. Domski has been recognized with two teaching awards while at UNM including Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2007, and The College of Arts and Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009. Domski teaches the following undergraduate courses: Introduction to Philosophy, Descartes to Kant, Philosophy of Science. She also teaches graduate seminars on Descartes, Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, and Seventeenth Century Math and Metaphysics. The philosophy department has increased its enrollment.

For questions or more information:

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