County commissioner earns alumni award from UNM

Award recognizes distinguished professional achievement or dedication to university

Megan Petersen
Farmington Daily Times
Farmington resident Jack Fortner speaks at a University of New Mexico event.
  • Jack Fortner grew up in Farmington and returned to start his own law firm in 1983.
  • Fortner served on UNM's Board of Regents for 18 years, including five years a president.
  • The immediate members of the Fortner family are all UNM alumni or current students, the family says.

FARMINGTON — Farmington resident and San Juan County Commissioner Jack Fortner has been named the 2017 Lobo Award recipient by the University of New Mexico Alumni Association.

The Lobo Award honors a graduate of UNM for being “distinguished by professional achievement or (for) dedication to the betterment of the university,” according to the UNM website.

Fortner, who grew up in Farmington, graduated from UNM in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in psychology. He finished law school at the University of Michigan in 1981 and returned to Albuquerque to join the law firm Sutin, Thayer and Brown, according to the UNM website.

He moved back to Farmington in 1983, where he started his own firm, the Fortner Law Office. He is currently chairman of the San Juan County Commission.

Fortner served on the UNM Board of Regents from 1998 to 2016 and acted as president in 2005 and from 2011 to 2015, according to the UNM website. He was recently recognized for his service on the Board of Regents by current president Rob Doughty, according to information from his wife, Terri Fortner.

MORE:Fortner remains a UNM regent, no hearing for nominees

Fortner’s family also attended UMN, according to information from Terri Fortner, who graduated from the university’s School of Nursing. One of their daughters, Suzanne, graduated with a double major, and another daughter, Krissy, is currently a senior at the university.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or