University of New Mexico President Robert G. Frank has announced the selection of Elsa Kircher Cole for the position of University Counsel. Cole most recently worked for the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, a private charitable group, after serving 13 years as general counsel for the NCAA, and more than two decades in the legal departments at two prominent universities. She will begin her new position at UNM on June 1.
"I am pleased to find an attorney with such vast experience to fill this important role at the University," Frank said. "With her background in university counsel work, private foundation practice and the management of the legal issues and litigation affecting the NCAA, she will be a great asset to UNM."
The University Counsel position works directly with the president and the UNM Board of Regents as the senior legal officer of the university, and is charged with providing legal advice on a wide range of complex institutional issues, managing a large legal department and overseeing the work of outside counsel.
Cole was selected to the position following a nationwide search by a committee of campus-wide representatives, chaired by Barbara Bergman, interim dean of the UNM School of Law.
"Our search produced a large pool of candidates, many with excellent qualifications. I would like to thank the committee for their efforts in finding the best fit for this key position at the University," Bergman said.
Prior to her work with the foundation and the NCAA, Cole served as the general counsel for the University of Michigan for eight years and as an assistant attorney general representing the University of Washington for 13 years. Cole is a frequent lecturer and writer in the area of higher education law, with special emphasis on athletics, sexual harassment and due process issues.
"I am pleased and honored to be selected for this position at New Mexico, a university with a future as great as it chooses it to be," Cole said. "I am particularly excited because it is the beloved alma mater of my father (Paul Kircher, B.B.A. 1941) who came to New Mexico as a T.B. patient and fell in love with the place."
Cole is on the board of advisors for the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University and an administrative review panel member for the United States Anti-Doping Agency. She has served on the board of directors of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, been named a Fellow of the Association and in 2009 was described as "The Game Changer" in a cover article for the corporate counsel edition of Super Lawyers Magazine.
Cole received her A.B. with distinction from Stanford University and her law degree from Boston University.
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- Inside UNM