Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

ULLS News Blog

News about the College

Employee Spotlight: Portia Vescio

by UL&LS Administration on 2017-10-26T08:42:20-06:00 | Comments


Portia Vescio, University Archivist, has been with the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences since May 2016.  For the past year, she has been in charge of the University’s historical records.  This includes a diverse list of items, such as the President’s correspondence, the minutes of the Board of Regents, documents pertaining to the various organizations like Staff Council and GPSA, as well as managing the University Archives page on the UNM Digital Repository and the physical items located in the basement of Zimmerman.  An average day for Portia includes answering research questions, updating finding aids, and processing materials and collections in order to make them available to researchers.  Preserving information and making it available is foremost on her list of things to do.


This Fall, Portia has also been working closely with the History of UNM class that meets twice a week in the Frank Waters Room.  She has been a valuable resource to students as they work on their research projects (many of whom are first time researchers), and she has been able to provide materials for the lecture from the archive.  Portia has enjoyed working with the students as they provide a fresh perspective and often think differently than she does; it is always fun to see what interests them versus what interests her. 


When Portia discovered the letterman sweater and jacket that belonged to Don McKee (Class of 1950) in the University Archives, she had found her inspiration for a new exhibit.  While at UNM, McKee was a football player and also the sports editor of the Daily Lobo.  His sweater and letterman jacket are among the many items featured in the exhibit “LOBOMANIA! UNM Sports through the Years”. 



While digging around in the University Archives collection, Portia discovered that she had many sports-related objects, including photographs, pins, banners, Homecoming ribbons, dolls of the mascots, the music sheet of UNM’s fight song “Hail New Mexico”, and other paraphernalia.  These items along with good access to information enabled her to put together a fun, informative, and three-dimensional exhibit that tells the story of how UNM sports and have developed from its earliest days to the present.  After a summer of research and detailed design planning with her team of staff and students (including Jennifer Eggleston, Barbara Korbal, Amy Padilla, and Marnina Patrick), Portia’s vision came together and is currently on view in the Frank Waters Room through the end of March 2018. 



The exhibit includes a lot of good and unusual history about sports and fun facts that most people might not know.  For instance, UNM was the first team to fly to a football game.  On display is a photo of the team standing in front of the airplane they took on October 12, 1929 in order to play Occidental College in Los Angeles.  Another gem is the Western Union telegram (October 7, 1929) signed by J.F. Zimmerman stating that the Athletics Council recommends that the football team leave to go to Los Angeles by plane as it is the same cost as traveling by train. 


In addition to providing viewers with more insight about UNM and Lobo Athletics, Portia and her team hope that the exhibit will raise awareness about the archives located in the Center for Southwest Research.



Being the University Archivist has provided Portia with many valuable experiences.  Her work with the UNM History class and on the LOBOMANIA exhibit has been a great way to share what is in the archives with others and to get to know what is in her collections better.  The aisles of boxes housed on B3 in the basement contain a number of fascinating items that she continues to discover and learn more about.  Perhaps, hidden in one of those boxes, Portia will find another unique item that will inspire her on to her next project.



 Add a Comment



Enter your e-mail address to receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.


  Return to Blog
This post is closed for further discussion.