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THE "U" AT UNM HODGIN HALL ALUMNI CENTER

 

A long forgotten University tradition is back on campus and again is an iconic symbol of campus life and local culture.

 

In the 1920s a statue of the letter "U" was constructed on the roof of UNM's Hodgin Hall (then the Administration Building) with lights attached on either side that would be lit after football victories. Albuquerque was considerably less dense then and, when lit, the ten foot statue could be seen throughout the community. It was said to be a beacon to the UNM community.  Though no one knows exactly when or why, the U was taken down some time in the 1930s.

 

The UNM Alumni Association, led by Executive Director Karen Abraham, wanted to bring the tradition of signaling a UNM Victory back to the community. She and the RMKM design team tried several different strategies, with the most promising being search lights shining into the Albuquerque sky. After the FAA determined the University was too close to the Airport for searchlights, that idea was scratched, and the idea of recreating the U sign was born. A company from New York, the same company that cast the World Trade Center Memorial Name plaques for the reflecting pools, cast the 12 foot tall bronze statue. After reaching its final destination at Hodgin Hall, the U is now mounted on a concrete base with a bronze dedication plaque. Custom LED lights will be lit for football victories, other important athletic victories and academic achievements and special occasions like Homecoming and Graduation. And, of course, the lights are Lobo Red!

 

RMKM also designed the new plaza that creates a more defined and cohesive space for the U and the building. With most of our staff ourselves UNM alums this was a special project for RMKM.

Owner:  UNM

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Size: 12 feet tall, 3,000 pounds

Grand opening photos by Ryan Fellows, Blue Sky Images