The University of New Mexico Board of Regents has selected Robert G. Frank as the 21st president of UNM. Frank, 59, will succeed David J. Schmidly, who announced in April 2011 that he would step down after five years as president. Frank will take office in June 2012.
Frank’s selection follows a six-month search by a committee that included Regents, faculty, students, staff and alumni. The 29 member-committee was chaired by Jack Fortner, president of the UNM Board of Regents.
Frank was selected by the UNM Board of Regents, after a week of public meetings with the finalists and members of the university community, as well as meetings with UNM administrators and the Board of Regents.
In making the announcement Fortner said, “We are delighted that Bob Frank has accepted our offer to become UNM’s next president and we look forward to his arrival on campus this summer.” He added that Frank emerged from a field of candidates as the best person to lead UNM to new frontiers in academic excellence. “I am confident that with his passion for education and experience fostering cutting-edge interdisciplinary teaching and research that he’s a great match for UNM. He shares the aspirations of the Board of Regents and University community for further enhancing the excellence of UNM.”
Tim Ross, faculty senate president and member of the presidential search committee said, “Bob Frank is clearly a Lobo and has roots in the state. He has the savvy to run a complex university. We look forward to working with him.”
Frank stated, “The chance to be president at a university with as much potential as UNM is the most exciting opportunity I can imagine.”
Bob Frank has been Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Kent State University since July 2007. Kent State is one of the nation’s larger university systems with eight campuses that provide more than 280 academic programs to more than 41,000 undergraduate and graduates students. Prior to that, he was the dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida, where he also served as a professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology.
Among the initiatives implemented during his tenure at Kent State, the university established a College of Public Health, increased enrollment by 23 percent, increased retention by three percent, and revised promotion and tenure rules. During his tenure at Florida, the College established the Public Health program and reorganized as what is now recognized as a CEPH accredited College of Public Health.
Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton commended Frank on his accomplishments and innovation while at KSU. “The Kent State University community is grateful to Dr. Frank for his unwavering leadership and dedication to student success and I thank him for his contributions to our excellence agenda,” Lefton stated. “The University of New Mexico is fortunate to have Dr. Frank and we wish him well.”
A graduate of Mayfield High School in Las Cruces, Frank received three degrees from UNM. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in 1974 and an M.A. in 1977, both in Psychology. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1979. He is the first UNM President to hold three degrees from the University. He and his wife Janet have two children, Daniel, 26, and Brian, 23.
At UNM, Frank said his job will be to ask a lot of questions and to listen carefully to the campus community. Even though he is a graduate of UNM, Frank understands that he has a lot to learn in his first 100 days.
As President, his priorities would center on enhancing the educational opportunities for UNM’s richly diverse student body.
“I recognize the exceptional talent of the UNM faculty, and the distinctive learning environment at UNM,” said Frank. “The breadth and depth of programs here are stunning. I am committed to leading the university in a collaborative and thoughtful manner to realize its full potential.”
“It’s great to be back in New Mexico and at UNM,” added Frank. “Janet and I are thrilled at the opportunity.” The Franks and their dogs, Lobo and Bailey, will reside at University House.