ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Leah Butler and Daniela Romero share a knowing glance as they sit in the sun on the University of New Mexico bookstore steps, each of them recounting the rocky childhoods they once thought would prevent them from graduating middle school, let alone college.
“I didn’t think of myself as a college person. I didn’t see myself as someone other than a secretary,” Butler said this week as she finished her last college final and prepared to graduate with her bachelor’s degree.
She and Romero are part of a class of about 1,267 undergraduates turning their tassels during UNM’s commencement tonight. UNM issued another 677 degrees at its branch campuses and at its upper degree ceremony Thursday. Central New Mexico Community College’s commencement is Saturday, with an estimated 1,757 graduates.