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A UNM ROTC student makes a rootbeer float during UNM President Garnett Stokes rootbeer float open house on April 12, 2018.

A UNM ROTC student makes a rootbeer float during UNM President Garnett Stokes rootbeer float open house on April 12, 2018.

President Stokes mingles with students at University House

President Garnett Stokes opened the doors of University House to students Thursday afternoon, serving up root beer floats and fun times for all.

“I’m really happy with the turnout, and I think everyone else is happy,” Stokes said. “A lot of these people have never seen the house before, so I’m glad we could open it up to them.”

Many students poured through the doors throughout the afternoon. Some brought housewarming gifts, such as plants and flamingo lawn ornaments, while other students asked to take Snapchat selfies with her.

“We never really interacted with the president before, so I think it’s really cool that she’s inviting students to come and get to know her,” student Sara Velasquez said.

Stokes has been involved in many activities on campus just within the last couple of weeks — everything from speaking at the Martin Luther King Jr. vigil to throwing wristbands and goodies into the crowd at Fiestas last Saturday.

“I think President Stokes is wonderful, and I think it’s great that she’s making an effort with the students right off the bat,” student Victoria Martinez said.

Stokes’ husband Jeff Younggren also made an appearance at the open house. He said he was happy to have the opportunity to mingle with students and support his wife in her new job.

“I’m my wife’s biggest cheerleader, and I look forward to seeing my wife do what she does best,” Younggren said. “Right now she’s listening, finding what the problems are, but soon she will start making decisions.”

Younggren has thoroughly enjoyed New Mexico so far, he said. He grew up and went to college in Tucson, Arizona, so being in Albuquerque is almost like coming home.

He said he is a forensic psychologist and still works full time. He said UNM has been generous in giving him a space at the medical school to work.

“Garnett and I have been together a long time, so we’re a good team,” Younggren said. “When something needs to happen that I need to be a part of, I’m here.”

Younggren and Stokes both said they want to be a part of the student community at UNM.

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“That’s the whole reason we wanted to have the open house. The school belongs to the students, so open the doors and let them come,” Younggren said.

Catherine Stringam is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.

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