The New U: A Beacon to the UNM Community

The U will be lit in various colors to celebrate key achievements in athletics, academics, and other occasions on campus.

The calendar to the right shows the dates when the U will be lit. The U will be lit each evening at dusk in white. For the listed athletic events, the U will be lit in the event of a win.

The History of the U:

UNM was known throughout Albuquerque as "the U" in the early days of its history.

To promote University spirit, in 1922, under the administration of UNM President David S. Hill, an "electric U" was placed atop Hodgin Hall. Albuquerque Gas and Electric Company constructed the U out of tin. Approximately 25 electric lights ran down each side. Keeping those light bulbs replaced in a timely fashion proved challenging once the sign was up. The project's total cost: $200. The U stayed in place at least until 1932. Neither the exact date nor the reason it was removed is known.

When will the U be lit?

The lighting of the U will be determined and managed by The University of New Mexico Alumni Association. For the listed athletic events, the U will be lit in the event of a win.

The U Is You.
Construction and Dedication of the New U:

As a nod to that great UNM tradition, in spring 2012 the Alumni Association commissioned a new U as a gift to the University.

The U is located in front of the main entrance to the Alumni Center at Hodgin Hall. The Alumni Association also renovated the plaza in front of Hodgin Hall's main entrance with landscaping, pavement, and signage identifying Hodgin Hall as the Alumni Center of UNM. This plaza, once known as "the quad," was incorporated into the building's design around 1915. The new plaza reaffirms Hodgin Hall as the soul of the University and will be used for alumni gatherings and UNM celebrations.

On November 18, 2012, the Alumni Association unveiled the new U and dedicated it to the University. President Robert G. Frank was formally inaugurated earlier that day. He accepted the gift on behalf of UNM along with Graduate and Professional Student Association President Marisa Silva and Associated Students of The University of New Mexico President Caroline Muraida. Like the original sign, the new U will be a beacon to the UNM community. It marks Hodgin Hall as The Alumni Center — a place where old traditions are preserved and new ones are created.

Construction Statistics

This table shows the statics for Hodgin Hall's U Sculptures.
Statistic The New U The Electric U
Dates Dedicated on Nov. 18, 2012 Approximately 1922-1932
Location Hodgin Hall Plaza Hodgin Hall Rooftop
Materials Cast Bronze Tin
Weight 3,000 lbs. --
Dimensions 12' tall, 8' wide 10' tall, 7' wide
Lighting LED lights with 16.7 million colors available 25 electric light bulbs down each side
Design and/or Construction RMKM Architecture (Mark Rohde, Owen Kramme), Bradbury Stamm Construction, Robert Doran (UNM architect), Suzanne Mortier (UNM landscape architect), KC Fabrications, Westwind Landscape Construction Albuquerque Gas and Electric Company
Informational Brochure

Download the U brochure, pdf file, opens in new window.

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Last updated: July 26, 2016

For questions or more information:

Alumni Relations Office
O: 505-277-5808
800-ALUM-UNM (258-6866)
E: alumni@unm.edu