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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Giant bronze ‘U’ coming back to Hodgin Hall

construction
By Paul Crespo / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Construction workers Jose Gutierrez (left) and Jose Torres lay slabs of concrete near Hodgin Hall last week. A bronze “U” will be built into the ground outside Hodgin Hall that will be lit up to celebrate UNM events.

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Following the re-opening of Hodgin Hall last year, the UNM Alumni Association plans to bring back a former tradition by building a giant, bronze “U” in front of the building.

Beginning in 1922, Hodgin Hall had a “U” affixed to the top of the building that was lit when the Lobos would win a game or there was a Lobo with a significant accomplishment, informing the Albuquerque community that something exciting was going on at UNM.

Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations Karen Abraham said the Alumni Association has decided to recreate the “U” symbol because it is a part of UNM’s history. She said the “U” is a gift from the Alumni Association to the University.

“When you come to this University, it really has a soul, a heritage, and traditions that bind students together,” Abraham said. “We want this to be a community involvement and engagement, so if something great has happened at the University, the community knows.”

But Abraham said the Federal Aviation Administration and representatives from Kirtland Air Force Base opposed the “U” being constructed on top of the building because all airplanes would have to be notified to disregard the “U” if it’s lit up in the air.

“We sort of wanted to do that same “U” on top of the building … and search lights that would go up into the sky, letting the community know the Lobos were victorious or something like that, but we weren’t sure the University would love it,” Abraham said. “But the FAA said absolutely not, and so did Kirtland Air Force Base.”

Abraham said the plan then morphed into a ground-based, bronze “U”.

“We are redoing the patio (in front of Hodgin Hall), and when something significant like graduation happens on campus, we will light the “U” with red,” Abraham said.

Abraham said the Alumni Association hopes the “U” will excite Lobos as well as the Albuquerque community about what is happening at the University.

“We hope that it builds some pride, we also hope that that kind of tradition will emanate out into the community,” she said.