By Makenzie McNeill

UNM Hospital Employee Celebrates 55 Years of Service

A 55-year commitment to a partner is certainly a milestone.  But a commitment of that many years to an employer is practically unheard of these days. 

Incredibly, Marilyn Baumgardner, a senior medical records clerk in the Health Information Management (HIM) Department, is now UNM Hospital’s longest serving employee at 55 years. 

In early February, The University of New Mexico Hospital held its annual anniversary and retirement banquet at the Sandia Resort and Casino. More than 700 employees were commemorated for their years of service to the organization, but Baumgardner received special recognition.

Her tenure is a remarkable accomplishment and an inspiration for all of UNM Hospital’s team members.

Marilyn Baumgardner
I love my job, and I am proud that I am still able to work and do the best that I can. I have practically grown up here, and I am very grateful for all the people with whom I have gotten to work.
— Marilyn Baumgardner, UNM Hospital

“I have worked alongside Marilyn for 38 plus years,” said Rebecca Tafoya, HIM coding educator.

“She is still going strong in our department and still striving to do her best every day. She is a great co-worker as well as a true friend.  She makes it a point to remember the names of your family members and asks how they are doing. I am very fortunate to have worked with her all these years.”


Baumgardner began her career in 1968 when UNM Hospital was the Bernalillo County Indian Hospital (BC-I).

She served as a clerk in the outpatient department, located near the exam rooms. She remembers her old office and colleagues well, including her first supervisor.

The people with whom she worked comprise most of her favorite memories from these early years.

“I loved getting to know people in the different areas,” Baumgardner said. “Whether I was helping to discharge patients or pick up medical records, I enjoyed meeting all the nurses and staff.”

After nearly two decades serving in outpatient care, she moved to the HIM off-site at the Hope building, where she has been for more than 30 years.

Her coworkers describe her as a phenomenal employee who is generous, cheerful, funny, and passionate about her work.

“Marilyn is such an amazing lady, always greeting you with a smile and willing to help with whatever is needed,” shared Brittney Romero, an HIM technician.

Jo Ann Griego, an HIM technician, agreed. “Marilyn is an inspiration, well known and liked by so many people. She is a kind, caring, and wonderful person. We need more people like her in our lives.”

Baumgardner has walked the hallways of this institution probably more than any other person.

She has witnessed some of the organization’s most dramatic changes, including BC-I’s transition to the Bernalillo County Medical Center (BCMC) in 1968 and finally The University of New Mexico Hospital in 1979.

During these times of transition through the decades, Marilyn has been a constant source of encouragement and stability to her team members. 

“The HIM department has gone through many changes over the years, but one thing has stayed the same - Marilyn Baumgardner,” said Gail Nalley, HIM coding educator who has worked with Marilyn for 30 years.

“The HIM department would not look the same today without her.”

While she is not sure if she initially planned to stay at UNM Hospital for so long, she is glad that she did.

“I love my job, and I am proud that I am still able to work and do the best that I can,” Marilyn said. “I have practically grown up here, and I am very grateful for all the people with whom I have gotten to work.”

To the young and rising employees who are just beginning their careers at UNM Hospital, she wanted to share a word of wisdom saying, “do the best work that you can, and don’t let things get you down.” 

Besides her full-time job in the HIM, Baumgardner also keeps busy with part-time work in the world of New Mexico sports.

You might see her working at The Pit during basketball season, at UNM Stadium during Lobo football games, or other UNM Athletics events throughout the year.

When Baumgardner is not on the clock, she enjoys spending time with her family, which includes four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She loves sharing a good meal, going to the movies, and attending events at the Albuquerque Little Theater and Pope Joy Hall.

UNM Hospital is immensely thankful for the 55 years of committed service that Baumgardner has invested into the organization. Her dedication and passion make her the kind of employee, and most importantly, the kind of person, that most individuals strive to be.  

On the day that Marilyn Baumgardner retires, she will leave behind an incredible legacy to inspire future generations who join the mission at UNM Hospital.

Categories: UNM Hospital