Alumni Award Recipients
Pat Henry (’73 BSEd)
Pat Henry is the current track & field coach at Texas A&M University. He is also the former track & field coach at Louisiana State University where he won 27 national championships. Henry graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in physical education. He began his college coaching career at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas in 1983. Only 3 years after taking over the program, he won his first of two consecutive National Junior College National Titles. Preceding his time at Blinn College, Henry served as head coach at Hobbs High School in New Mexico, where he led his teams to five state championships. In 1987, he was hired by LSU, winning a national championship, three SEC titles, and earning two conference Coach of the Year awards in his first year alone. LSU became the first of Henry’s 27 national titles, 19 SEC titles, 15 SEC Coach of the Year and five National Coach of the Year honors. He would win both the men's and women's national titles in both 1989 and 1990. In 2004, he was hired by Texas A&M as head track and field coach. In Henry's tenure at Texas A&M, his teams have finished in the top 10 at NCAA meets 14 times and won eight Big 12 titles, earning Henry the title of Big 12 Coach of the Year eight times. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 he won both the men's and women's outdoor national titles. Henry is the only coach in NCAA history to win both men's and women's track and field national titles in the same year. He has accomplished the feat five times with two different programs -- LSU in 1989 and 1990 and Texas A&M in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
A native of Albuquerque, Henry graduated from Del Norte High School in 1969. He received his bachelor's degree in physical education from the University of New Mexico in 1973 and a master's degree in education administration from Western New Mexico in 1979. Henry is married to Gail Duggin, also of Albuquerque, and they have a daughter and son-in-law, Shelly and Seth Daigle, as well as a son and daughter-in-law, Brandon and Brandie Henry.
Jose Garcia (’03 BBA)
José García is an accomplished veteran of the meetings and convention industry with more than 15 years in the convention center industry. He has been with ASM Global since 2004 where he serves as General Manager of the Albuquerque Convention Center. García started with ASM Global as an Event Coordinator and he worked his way up the ranks as director of event services and prior to being the general manager, the director of operations for the Albuquerque Convention Center. García graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2003 with a bachelor’s of business administration in travel and tourism management from the Anderson Schools of Management.
García grew up in Cuba, New Mexico, and graduated as salutatorian from Cuba High School. He is a veteran of the United States Navy where he served four years as a Quartermaster 2nd Class Petty Officer. Garcia is a member of several professional organizations including the International Association of Venue Managers, the New Mexico Hospitality Association, and the Greater Albuquerque Hotel & Lodgers Association.
Steve Griego (’80 BBA)
Steve Griego graduated from the University of New Mexico with his bachelor’s of business administration from the Anderson School of Management in 1980. He is the President and CEO of Distribution Management Corporation, from 1986 to present, operating out of Albuquerque, NM. DMC Logistics is a leading provider of customized logistics and delivery solutions operating in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Texas. Since the creation in 1986, DMC Logistics has grown to service a wide variety of industries throughout the region. From dock-to-door, Griego’s team meets evolving needs with industry-specialized expertise in the movement of products that provide predictable value among multiple stakeholders. Before starting DMC Logistics, he was employed by 1st National Bank in Albuquerque. Additionally, Griego has been very involved in the community. He has served on the board of directors for Leadership New Mexico, a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational organization directed by a board of directors from throughout the state. He has served at the president, treasurer, director and secretary of Aero Charter & Transport Inc. He is also an Anderson School of Management Foundation board member. Griego and his wife, Lydia, became the naming rights donor of the Innovation Center within the new McKinnon Center for Management building. This gift shows his continued commitment to the Anderson School of Management and UNM.
Verallen Kleinhenz (’09 BM, ’12 MMU)
Verallen Kleinhenz is co-founder and musical director of a nonprofit choir for adults with developmental disabilities called Expressions of Joy (EoJ). Kleinhenz formed EoJ so that her oldest son, Andy, could have an outlet to sing and perform. She is a professional choir director and realized that Andy would never be able to participate in any of the choirs she directs. Kleinhenz took the opportunity to create EoJ, which has performed at the Round House and has been named KKOB's Hometown Heroes. The choir’s members sing the National Anthem for some of the Isotopes games and have a standing engagement to do a set of Christmas songs for the Merry Maker's annual Christmas Ball. Kleinhenz has dedicated her life and free time to make sure that these members have a great quality of life through music. They have inspired audiences all over Albuquerque, Cedar Crest and the west side.
Prior to establishing EoJ, Kleinhenz spent most of her career as an Air Force wife, raising three children. She was employed at Air Force and Navy Chapels in California, Mississippi, Guam and finally New Mexico. Kleinhenz attended classes at the University of Miami and the University of Guam but didn’t complete her education until after she and her family moved to Albuquerque. While working full time at The Music Mart, she began classes at TVI (now known as Central New Mexico Community College) in the fall of 2004. Vera began to work on her Bachelor of Music degree in the spring of 2005 and never looked back. She has composed three choral pieces and a handbell piece published with various publishers.
Kleinhenz graduated from the University of New Mexico with a bachelor’s of music in 2009 and master’s of music in 2012. Kleinhenz is a member of the American Choral Director’s Association, the American Guild of Organists, American Guild of English Handbell Ringer) where she served as Chairperson of Area XI, Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, and the Fellowship of Unite Methodist in Music and Worship Arts. Kleinhenz arranged the state song, “O, Fair New Mexico” for the state’s tricentennial.
Inspirational Young Alumnus
Kanika Chawla (’01 BSCHE)
Kanika Chawla is a Senior Manager of Analytical Development at Vir Biotechnology in San Francisco, Calif., where she is the analytical and formulation subteam leader responsible for all CMC analytical and formulation related activities for multiple antibody products targeted at treating infectious diseases. Previously, Chawla was a senior scientist at Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc., where she has used her diverse experience in chemical engineering and bioengineering for the development of Cellerant’s progenitor stem cell product for the treatment of neutropenia following chemotherapy or radiation exposure. During her tenure at Cellerant, Chawla has developed multiple complex cell-based assays for the assessment of functionality and potency of cell-based products as well as cytotoxic antibody drug conjugate products. She has spearheaded product improvement projects and developed strategies for the reduction of cost of goods.
Chawla has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals to her credit. She was the editor for the recently published “Biomaterials for Tissue Engineering” volume in the “Methods in Molecular Biology” series, published by Springer. In addition, she has been an invited speaker at multiple conferences.
Chawla graduated magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico in 2001 with a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering. While at UNM, she received several honors and awards. Chawla received her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in the field of Bioengineering in 2006, where she spearheaded tissue engineering-based treatments for cartilage repair in vivo. At UCSD, she was awarded the Whitaker Graduate Research Fellowship. She did her post-doctoral work at Northwestern University in biomaterials, where she investigated and optimized protein and peptide bioconjugation strategies for delivering biological molecules to tissue surfaces. While at Northwestern University, she was awarded a travel study grant which allowed her to spend some time conducting research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. Chawla did additional post-doctoral studies at the department of chemistry in the University of California, Irvine where she optimized/applied novel saccharide-peptide hybrid hydrogel biomaterials for stem cell differentiation, musculoskeletal, and tissue engineering applications in 3D.
James F. Zimmerman Award
Bernard F. Fuemmeler ('94 BA)
Bernard F. Fuemmeler, Ph.D., is professor and Gordon D. Ginder, MD Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Dr. Fuemmeler received his B.A. in psychology and philosophy from UNM and then pursued advanced degrees at Oklahoma State University, Harvard University and the National Cancer Institute.
He began his academic career at Duke University in Durham, N.C., where he was on the faculty for 11 years in the Department of Family Medicine. As a research professor at Duke he led a number of population-based studies, mentored and trained post-doctoral and junior faculty, and founded and directed mHealth@Duke – a school-wide co-laboratory whose mission was to expand research, education and leadership in mobile and digital health.
In 2016 he was recruited to VCU’s Massey Cancer Center, an NCI designated cancer center. In his position as associate director of cancer prevention and control, Fuemmeler is responsible for the development and coordination of Massey’s cancer prevention and control research program.
He has authored numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters, and holds one U.S. patent for his work in mobile and digital health.
Bernard S. Rodey Award
Amy Wohlert (‘78 BUS, ’80 MA, '11 MBA)
Over a 25-year career, Amy Wohlert, Ph.D., has served in 15 administrative positions in multiple capacities at UNM. She has broad experience in academic administration at the University, having served as interim dean at the Anderson School of Management, interim director of the School for Public Administration and as the dean of Graduate Studies.
Additionally, she has served UNM as vice provost and dean of Graduate Education, associate provost for Academic Affairs (Curriculum and Instruction) and chair of the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
She completed her career at UNM as chief of staff for the Office of the President, where she served as deputy to the president to advance the initiatives of the office internally and externally. She is also professor emeritus in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.
Erna S. Fergusson Award
Bradford Zeikus (’66 JD)
Bradford Zeikus is one of the UNM School of Law's most dedicated and longest-serving alumni. Zeikus practices family law and has helped hundreds of New Mexico families since he began practicing in 1969. He helped develop the curriculum for the Family Law Institute and has chaired the family law specialization committee for the past 12 years. He also served as president of the Albuquerque Bar Association. He is highly committed to the State Bar of New Mexico's Senior Lawyers Division and has served as chair multiple times. With the Senior Lawyers Division, he helped establish a fund in 2016 that provides law students with scholarships and honors the memories of attorneys who passed away the year before.
Zeikus graduated from UNM Law in 1966. In 1972, he was asked to co found the Law Alumni Association Board of Directors. He not only helped establish the Law Alumni Board, but also has served continuously since its inception and has seen its evolution and growth into a highly functioning and successful group. The board has been so successful that it now provides an additional $20,000 in annual scholarships.
Faculty Teaching Award
Christian Koops, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at UNM. He received his Ph.D. in linguistics from Rice University in 2011. His research spans variationist sociolinguistics, the study of social variation in dialects, specifically sociophonetics. He is especially interested in language and dialect contact phenomena, such as the segmental and suprasegmental features of Spanish-influenced varieties of English as well as other ethnic varieties of North American English.
Koops teaches at several learning levels and is known to be a dedicated instructor and mentor to many students within the Linguistics Department. In addition to in-classroom projects, Koops regularly collaborates on research projects with students, giving them a chance at post-graduation success. He commits long hours and energy ensuring his students will benefit from learning both in and out of the classroom.
For questions or more information:
Alumni Relations Office