Roberta Vigil

A busy time at UNM-Taos

By Bill Knief

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April is always a busy time at UNM-Taos, and after functioning for ten years as an official Branch of the University of New Mexico, this year is no exception.

The annual UNM-Taos Spring Arts Exhibition runs from Saturday, April 27 through Sunday, April 28 with an opening reception from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday at the Stables Gallery, according to Jeremy McDonnell, head of the Arts Program. What brings in the big crowds every year is the wealth of art from beginning to advanced students, and the variety of media and techniques: painting, sculpture, drawing, drawing, jewelry, print making, ceramics, photography, woodworking and video. This is one show not to be missed.

Also on April 27 from noon to 4 p.m. the Taos Jewish Center is hosting a Taos Jewish Heritage Festival in Padre Martinez Hall on the Klauer Campus. Admission is $5, and UNM-Taos students and children under 12 are free. All proceeds will benefit the UNM-Taos Kids’ Campus and the Taos Jewish Center. Billed as an educational-cultural event “celebrating an important part of our unique common heritage in Taos valley,” guest speakers UNM-Taos educators Larry Torres and Mirabai Starr will be featured. The event will include vocal performances, an art exhibit and Middle Eastern food.

The spring semester is almost over and finals are beginning to loom large on the horizon. Graduation is barely two weeks away—May 10 at the Sagebrush Inn and Conference Center—and 23,000 Summer and Fall Schedules were delivered on Friday. You’ll start seeing them in racks around town as well as on our website, That’s a good thing because students started registering for both summer and fall classes as early as April 22nd.

“It’s important to register as early as possible,” stated Roberta Vigil, Senior Instructional Service Associate for the Department of Instruction. “Our staff has seen more students going to college in the past few years, and core courses are filling up a lot faster than they used to. If you register early you’ll have the optimal choice of courses, the faculty members you prefer and the times that best fit your schedule. It’s worth the trouble: education can get you to places you might not otherwise get to.”

I asked her if she might be a good example of that herself.

“I am absolutely an example of that,” she laughed. “I graduated from Taos High, and then decided to go back to school when my son was old enough to go to school. Yes, I would definitely say I’m a product of UNM-Taos, and a proud one.

“I have a very good job here. I ended up with a Master’s degree with intentions of pursuing a PhD. I am proud of who I am and where I work and how I got here.

“Our goal at UNM-Taos is to get people into and out of college as successful students and successful citizens. It’s true that life intervenes. But if you mess up in high school, know that you still have options. If you take years off to get married and have kids, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for you. It may take longer that way, but we have a life here. We have our children. We have our parents, our grandparents. Our obligations are too big to have to leave here. That’s why UNM-Taos is a great asset to our community and the surrounding area.”

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