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Former University architect Van Dorn Hooker spent the past three years composing a comprehensive list of short biographies each person whose name is on a UNM building, monument or memorial. While Dorn Hooker’s untitled work is waiting to be published, the Daily Lobo has compiled a short list detailing three prominent figures.

Sherman Smith – Smith Plaza



Sherman Smith first came to UNM from the University of North Carolina as chairman of the chemistry department and was quickly appointed director of student affairs in 1949. Smith became administrative vice president in 1965 and vice president for administration and development in 1970. Smith passed away in 1973.

Tom L. Popejoy – Popejoy Hall

Tom L. Popejoy grew up in Raton, New Mexico and became the first native New Mexican to hold the position of President of the University. Dorn Hooker said Popejoy married after graduating from Raton High School, and came to UNM thanks to a football scholarship. After graduating, Popejoy took a job at the UNM business office. He was appointed University president in 1948 and held the position for 20 years. Popejoy passed away in 1975.

James F. Zimmerman – Zimmerman Library

James F. Zimmerman was president of the University from 1927 to 1944. During his time as president, Zimmerman created the Department of Anthropology in 1928. He also pushed to acquire archaeological sites for UNM, including Chaco Canyon and the Coronado Monument. Zimmerman has been credited for the physical expansion of the University, emphasizing a Pueblo Revival Style. Zimmerman passed away in 1944.