Alumni Award Recipients

James F. Zimmerman Award

Derek J. Smith

Derek Smith ('94 MS, '97 PhD) is professor of infectious disease informatics in the Zoology Department at Cambridge University in England. He is director of the Center for Pathogen Evolution and director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Modeling, Evolution, and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases, both at Cambridge University. He is also a member of the Department of Virology at Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands. He is a member of the WHO influenza vaccine strain selection committee, and is also involved in vaccine strain selection for other human and non-human pathogens for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Animal Health Organisation. His research focuses on how pathogens evolve, to what extent this evolution is predictable, and determining public and animal health measures against such ever-changing pathogens. He received a United States National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award in 2005 for his work on Antigenic Cartography, a method that enables detailed study of pathogen evolution.

Bernard S. Rodey Award

James G. Ellis

James Ellis ('68 BBA) is Dean of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC), where he is responsible for the education of approximately 5,700 graduate and undergraduate students. In addition, he has held a full-time appointment as professor of marketing since 1997. Prior to being appointed dean, Mr. Ellis was Vice Provost of Globalization for USC, responsible for building the university's name worldwide. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and sits on three corporate boards of directors.

Erna S. Fergusson Award

Angie L. Vachio

Angie Vachio ('75 MA, '02 HOND), co-founder of the Peanut Butter & Jelly (PB&J) Therapeutic Preschool and executive director emerita of PB&J Family Services, Inc., headquartered in Albuquerque, has dedicated her life to protecting children at risk of abuse and neglect. The PB&J Therapeutic Preschool is a child abuse prevention program that uses interactive parenting to help families develop the skills to provide safe and loving homes for their children. It has evolved from a volunteer organization into a nationally accredited, comprehensive family services agency with programs in five New Mexico counties. PB&J has developed effective programs to serve the children of incarcerated parents. Its ImPACT program, which operates in four New Mexico correctional facilities, re-unifies children with their incarcerated parents and re-establishes the family unit once the incarcerated parent is released.

Zia Award

Gig Brummell

An arm injury was all that stood between Gig Brummel's ('62 BBA) pro baseball career—he'd signed with the former Kansas City Athletes' affiliate, the Albuquerque Dukes—and his myriad professional and civic contributions to UNM and the Albuquerque community. The Lobo baseball and basketball Letterman went on to make the Albuquerque branch of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter number one in the Southwest for nine years, and one of the top 10 nationwide. Since retiring, Brummel has applied his financial skills and management experience to numerous boards, including the UNM Alumni Lettermen's Association, UNM Alumni Association, Sandia Foundation, Archdiocese of Santa Fe Finance Council and Archdiocese Catholic Foundation.

Leslie Hoffman

Leslie Hoffman (MBA, BA) began her career as a journalist, but a tour in the Peace Corps in El Salvador swayed her career pursuits toward community development. She worked as a microfinance practitioner and manager with Acción New Mexico * Arizona * Colorado for eight years before beginning her own consulting group, LEH Consulting. She is particularly interested in small for-profit and non-profit businesses. She is a member of the APS Education Foundation Board, on the board of the Hank Trewhitt Alumni Award, and a guest lecturer for the CNM entrepreneurship program and marketing and microfinance undergraduate business courses at UNM Anderson School of Management.

Madeline King

Science classes as a youngster in Gallup, New Mexico, tweaked Madeline King's ('02 PharmD) interest in becoming a pharmacist. Hard work and family support made it possible for her to graduate from the UNM School of Pharmacy, complete a residency at the VA Medical Center and establish a career working with veterans. Today she is in charge of the residency program at the hospital, overseeing rotations for 30 pharmacy students. Her principal responsibility is in strategic planning for both inpatients and outpatients.

Jay Rosenblum

The president and CEO of Sutin, Thayer & Brown law firm, Jay Rosenblum ('78 BA, '82 JD), specializes in business and tax law and has been named one of America's Best Lawyers and one of Albuquerque's Best CEOs. Those partial to western swing music might also name him an outstanding bass player, for his participation in the band Curio Cowboys. Known for his pro bono work, Rosenblum serves on numerous boards, including the New Mexico Community Foundation, the New Mexico Economic Development Corporation, and the David Specter Shalom House.

Peter Sanchez

After 20 years of a successful out-of-state career in accounting, oil and gas, and technology startups, and after earning a law degree, Peter Sanchez ('84 BBA) returned to Albuquerque. An heir to the Atrisco Land Grant, Sanchez was appointed CEO of the Atrisco Companies, which include the Atrisco Heritage Foundation, the Rio Grande Educational Collaborative, El Campo Santo, Atrisco Oil and Gas, and Mariachi Spectacular. Extending his passion for growth, cultural awareness and education, Sanchez serves on several boards, including the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation and the Hispano Chamber of Commerce.

Frank Sedillo

Metropolitan Court Judge Frank Sedillo's ('82 BBA, '87 JD) pursuit of a legal career began in the legislative branch when he served as Aide/Doorkeeper for Senator Pete Domenici and then as Aide to Congressman Manuel Lujan. Now he presides not only in court but as host of "The Advocate," a City of Albuquerque GOV 16 Television show. His contributions to UNM athletics began with the Lobo football team and have continued with nearly 20 years' service on the UNM Alumni Lettermen's Association board of directors. Sedillo is licensed as a coach and official for the New Mexico Activities Association.

Lobo Award

Chris Schueler

Documentary filmmaker and innovator in social media television, Chris Schueler ('85 MA) has created over 100 television programs in the past 20 years that have garnered 21 Emmy Awards. Schueler is president of Christopher Productions which uses social media to generate understanding and community involvement for bettering the lives of young people. Projects worldwide have addressed issues such as teenage drinking, dating and domestic violence, homelessness, HIV-AIDS, suicide, and others. At UNM, Schueler has been active in alumni and student-outreach efforts.

Inspirational Young Alumnus Award

Abigail Lanin Eaves

Among the youngest midwifery graduates of the UNM College of Nursing, Abigail Lanin Eaves ('00 BSN, '02 MSN) opened Albuquerque's Dar a Luz (to give birth) birth center in 2011. Dar a Luz is the first birth center in Albuquerque since 1985. The non-profit center provides full-scope midwifery services -- including prenatal care, labor, birth, postpartum, and newborn care; well-women care such as Pap/Annual exams; contraception; STI testing and treatment; pre-conception counseling; healthy lifestyle promotion and maintenance; and depression management. Patients pay only according to their ability. Lanin Eaves is also working with the New Mexico Department of Health, Medicaid and the Birth Center Alliance to obtain licensure for other birth centers in the state.

Faculty Teaching Award

John D. Benavidez

John Benavidez ('94 BBA, '97 MBA) has been a professor at UNM's Anderson School of Business since 1997. His teaching focuses on marketing, including but not limited to advertising, digital marketing, promotions management, and marketing management. Mr. Benavidez serves as faculty advisor for UNM Collegiate DECA and is a faculty representative on the UNM Student Union Building Board. He received the Wall Street Journal Distinguished Professor Award in 2009 and the New Mexico American Marketing Association Recognition of Excellence Award in 2008. He was named one of New Mexico Business Weekly's "40 Under Forty" in 2006 and UNM Outstanding Lecturer of the Year in 2004.