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2017 Honorees


Professor Barbara E. Bergman
Director of Advocacy, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Professor Barbara Bergman brought years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. when she joined the UNM law faculty in 1987. Bergman taught at UNM until 2015, consistently bringing out the best in her students by her unparalleled industriousness and mentorship. While serving as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and as Interim Dean, Bergman continued to teach and lead numerous academic programs, many of which she started, strengthening the academic program and ensuring truly practice-ready graduates. Her leadership locally and nationwide benefited hundreds of law graduates, and has been critical to the success of the UNM Law School.


The Honorable Michael D. Bustamante (Ret.)
UNM School of Law Class of 1974

Judge Bustamante served on the New Mexico Court of Appeals from 1994 until his retirement in 2016. He is known for his tireless work ethic and thorough preparation, and his body of work will leave a lasting impression on the state of New Mexico. Bustamante has shown an unwavering support of UNM Law School students, serving as an adjunct professor for years, coaching and assisting with countless Moot Court teams, and hiring UNM Law graduates as his clerks. He also spearheaded the idea and oversaw the construction of the Pamela B. Minzner Law Center, and as a result, UNM is the only law school in the country with a Court of Appeals on its campus.


Professor James W. Ellis
University Distinguished Professor of Law

Since joining the UNM law faculty in 1976, Professor Jim Ellis has worked on behalf of people with mental disabilities in the civil and criminal justice system. His work has given generations of students the opportunity to participate in significant and ground-breaking changes in the law at the highest level of advocacy. Ellis has filed over 20 briefs, each involving our UNM students and faculty, in constitutional cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2002, he argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia. The Court has referenced his briefs and scholarship in several landmark decisions, most recently Hall v. Florida in 2014 and Moore v. Texas in 2017.

The Alumni Promise Award is new this year and honors a recent UNM Law School graduate who has contributed innovative or substantial service to the Law School, its students, or its community.


Shammara H. Henderson
Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, UNM School of Law Class of 2007

Shammara Henderson clerked for Justice Charles W. Daniels at the New Mexico Supreme Court. Later, she joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office were she focused on prosecuting drug trafficking organizations, civil rights, and child pornography cases. She is now practicing in the Civil Division.

Helping students obtain practical experience has been Henderson’s passion, and since graduating she has coordinated numerous externships, clerkships, presentations, and training and coaching programs with the law school’s Office of Student and Career Services.

Henderson’s many contributions to the community include serving as the Region X Director, National Bar Association; Vice President, New Mexico Black Lawyers Association; and as a member and Vice President of the UNM School of Law Alumni/ae Association Board.

Distinguished Achievement Award Criteria

NEW! Alumni Promise Award Criteria

Proceeds from the Distinguished Achievement Awards Dinner help fund the Law Alumni Association's programming and full-tuition merit scholarships at the Law School.

The Law Alumni/ae Association has been counseled to not honor judges currently presiding on the bench due to the awards ceremony being a fundraiser.

Watch the 2017 honorees' tribute video

Your Impact

Taylor Watrous Lueras, Class of 2012

The Alumni Merit Scholarship was extremely important to me. It was a factor in my decision to stay in New Mexico, attend law school here, and become a New Mexico lawyer. As a recipient of the scholarship, I realized that I had the support of the entire legal community of New Mexico, and it motivated me to work even harder in law school. The Scholarship afforded me so many important opportunities, and I am thrilled to be able to give back to New Mexico and the UNM School of Law as an alumna.

Taylor Watrous Lueras Class of 2012
Noell Sauer, 3rd Year Student

The Law Alumni/ae Association full-tuition scholarship is life changing in so many ways. For me I think it is particularly humbling and motivating to know that there are people out there who support my goals, so much so that they are willing to finance my legal education. This scholarship removes a significant burden off of me as a student and allows me to focus my time and energy on becoming the best lawyer I can be. The confidence this scholarship inspires is truly incredible and I could not be more grateful for the support.

Noell Sauer 3rd Year Student
Emma O'Sullivan, 3rd Year Law Student

When I applied to law school, I never thought that I would get in, let alone receive a scholarship. Besides giving me and my family the financial support I needed to be able to attend law school, the Scholarship gave me the important message that I was "law school material," and really deserved to be here. Attending UNM School of Law has changed my life and given me amazing opportunities, and I'm really excited about the directions my career path is already taking. Words are inadequate to describe the feeling of gratitude I have that the Alumni Board decided to take a chance on me, and gave me the opportunity to become a part of this community.

Emma O'Sullivan Class of 2016

To submit a nomination for the 2018 awards, please complete the nomination form.


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, 72 honorees, more than 7,000 attendees and hundreds of sponsors have participated in the event. The dinner has raised over $500,000 for law school programming, including the Alumni Association scholarships, the Law School's only merit-based full-tuition scholarships presented to incoming law students.

Thank you for helping us honor members of the law school and legal community, and for helping us support our alma mater.

Past Awardees

Paul Robinson (`50)
Honorable Santiago Campos (`53)
Ruth C. Streeter (`53)

Franklin Jones (`56)
Professor Henry Weihofen
Honorable Mary C. Walters (`62)
Haskell Rosebrough (`51)

Honorable Dan Sosa, Jr. (`51)
John D. Robb, Jr.
William E. Bondurant, Jr.
Raymond W. Schowers (`73) (posthumously)

Professor Albert Utton
Felix Briones (`57)

Honorable E. L. Mechem
Honorable Joe Wood (`50)
D. Russell Moore (`57)

Gene Gallegos (`60)
Honorable Richard Ransom
U.S. Representative Steve Schiff (`72) (posthumously)

Honorable Howard Bratton
Kevin Gover (`81)
Professor Fred Hart

Sarah Bradley (`72)
Arturo Jaramillo
William Snead (`61)

John R. Cooney (`65)
Raymond G. Sanchez (`67)
Anne B. Thomas (`83)

Professor Robert J. Desiderio
Nancy Hollander (`78)
Luis G. Stelzner

Ranne D. Miller (`67)
Maureen A. Sanders (`79)
Associate Dean Peter A. Winograd

Richard L. Gerding (`64)
Honorable Tommy E. Jewell (`79)
Professor Ruth L. Kovnat

Arthur O. Beach (`70)
Pat R. Bryan, III (`74)
John E. Echohawk (`70)
Toby Grossman (`68) (posthumously)

Professor Michael B. Browde
Randi M. McGinn (`80)
Andrew G. Schultz (`84)
Walter K. Martinez (`55) (posthumously)

William H. Carpenter (`66)
Honorable Pamela B. Minzner (posthumously)
Gary O. O`Dowd (`65)

Professor William T. McPherson, Jr. (`66)
Paula Tackett (`77)
U.S. Senator Tom Udall (`77)

Catherine Goldberg ('75)
Peter Mallery ('68)
Professor Emeritus and former Dean Leo M. Romero

Professor Anne Bingaman
Richard Civerolo (`50)
Professor and former Dean Ted Parnall (`67, January)
Wendy York (`82)

Peter Johnstone ('74) (posthumous award)
Ted Occhialino, Professor Emeritus
Patricia Madrid ('73)
Norman Thayer, ('60)

William Marchiondo ('52)
Edward Ricco ('80)
Jacquelyn Robins ('74)
Joan Hart, Lifetime Service Award

The Hon. Elizabeth Whitefield ('77)
Prof. Emeritus Richard Gonzales
Briggs Cheney ('73)

The Hon. Lorenzo F. Garcia ('73)
Joseph Goldberg
Tim Sheehan

DAAD Committee Members

Robert Lucero, Chair
Samantha Adams
Morris Chavez

Agnes Fuentevilla Padilla
Justin Goodman
Bradford Zeikus

Taylor Lueras
David Martinez
Sheryl Saavedra

Andy Schultz
David Stout