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In 1993, University of New Mexico School of Law Alumni/ae board members began a tradition of honoring people who have served the legal community in a significant way at an annual dinner and awards ceremony. The purpose of the Distinguished Achievement Awards Dinner is to celebrate notable accomplishments and dedicated service by lawyers and others in the legal community to the UNM School of Law, the New Mexico legal community and the greater community inside and outside of New Mexico.
Since the dinner started, 51 honorees, more than 6,000 attendees and more than 100 different sponsors have participated in the event. The dinner has raised nearly $300,000 for law school programming, including the Alumni Association Board scholarships, the Law School's only merit-based full-tuition scholarships presented to incoming law students.
The goal of the annual Distinguished Achievement Awards Dinner is to raise awareness of the long-term accomplishments and service to the law school and legal community by outstanding people. The dinner also provides a venue for members of the greater law school community at which to gather and celebrate these achievements and to raise money for valuable projects on behalf of the law school.
Since 1993, the School of Law Alumni/ae Association has sponsored 16 dinners with the following awardees:
1993 – Paul Robinson (`50)
1994 - Franklin Jones (`56)
1995 - Honorable Dan Sosa, Jr. (`51)
1996 - Professor Albert Utton
1997 - Honorable E. L. Mechem
1998 - Gene Gallegos (`60)
1999 - Honorable Howard Bratton
2000 – Sarah Bradley (`72)
2001 – John R. Cooney (`65)
2003 - Professor Robert J. Desiderio
2004 – Ranne D. Miller (`67)
2005 – Richard L. Gerding (`64)
2006 – Arthur O. Beach (`70)
2007 – Professor Michael B. Browde
2008 - William H. Carpenter (`66)
2009 – Professor William T. McPherson, Jr. (`66)