Donor Story

Presidential Scholarship Celebration

Nearly 400 people celebrated the long standing UNM Presidential Scholarship Program (PSP) Tuesday, April 17th at the UNM Student Union Ballroom.

drew-yoniganPresidential Scholars and their sponsors, UNM staff and program supporters from local and corporate businesses gathered for a dinner program, highlighting the incredible success of the scholars and honoring the graduating seniors within the program.

The program was emceed by Presidential Scholarship Senior, Amber Deveraux who will earn her degree in Emergency Medicine this spring. Student speakers Beth Ann Lopez and Andrew “Drew” Tonigan stressed the significance of the Presidential Scholarship in their academic journey. Beth Ann, a Biochemistry major, described opportunities that she was able to accept due to the financial relief from the Presidential Scholarship. These included attending a symposium in Puebla, Mexico, Indiginesmo and Cultural Diversity whose purpose is to teach students the practice of Indigenous planning in the Americas. She also attended Harvard University as a Research Experience for Undergraduates Intern for three summers beginning in 2009.

Drew relied on the Presidential Scholarship as a way to focus on his studies after facing personal tragedy. At the beginning of his academic career at UNM, Drew lost both his parents in just a matter of years. He initially considered going out of state for college but the offer of a Presidential Scholarship and close family connections to UNM persuaded him to stay. Drew’s uncle, Scott Tonigan is a research professor in Psychology at UNM and his late grandfather, Dr. Richard Tonigan was an UNM alum and faculty member with UNM’s College of Education. Dr. Richard Tonigan passed away in March, just months before Drew will complete his undergraduate studies at UNM – an institution where the Tonigan family heritage is so evident (Drew’s father was also an alum). Drew has shown unrivaled resilience in his ability to graduate on time, earning his degree in Nuclear Engineering later this spring.

Beth Ann and Drew are a snapshot of the 407 Presidential Scholars currently enrolled at UNM. The purpose of the program is to keep New Mexico’s brightest and most community-minded students in the state for their college education. Since the PSP originated in 1976, sponsorships and support has grown exponentially. To date, there are nearly 150 annual sponsorships and over 60 endowed scholarships. Since 2010, 15 additional supporters have joined the program as either annual sponsors or with gifts to endow a scholarship.

For more information how you can help support the Presidential Scholarship Program, please click here or contact Terry Mulert, Presidential Scholarship Director at (505) 313-7679 or If you would like to consider PSP in your estate planning, please contact Bonnie McLeskey, Associate Vice President for Planned Giving at (505) 313-7610 or