University of New Mexico President David J. Schmidly announced today that he will leave the presidency of the university when his contract is fulfilled in June of 2012.

He notified in writing both the president and vice president of the UNM Board of Regents of his decision on Monday, April 18.

In an email message to university faculty, staff and students, President Schmidly wrote, "I'm letting you know of my decision 13 months in advance for a couple of reasons. The Regents have the important task of choosing the university president, and I want to give them ample time to conduct their search.

I also want to make it clear that I will continue to do my job here. With the Regents, I will be setting realistic goals for the coming year, while striving to move the university forward, even in the face of lingering economic difficulties."

The full text of the President's announcement to campus can be found at: Schmidly to Leave UNM Presidency 2012.

President Schmidly took over as UNM president on June 1, 2007. Eighteen months later, the university and the rest of the nation plunged into the worst economic recession of modern times. Schmidly said the loss of more than $64 million in state funding over the past two and a half years had to be factored in to all his goals and work plans. He is proud of how UNM has been able to weather the recession.

"Thanks to the interest and participation from every corner of the university, and the steadying influence of our regents and finance experts, we've been able to largely preserve academic and research mission, provide continuity of service to our students and avoid large scale layoffs and furloughs experienced in other higher education institutions and in the public sector," Schmidly said.

Going into the final year of his presidency, Schmidly looks to what he calls his "legacy goals" – major accomplishments to date he intends to build upon during the final year of his administration.

Established a "free standing independent" foundation
Moving into the public phase of the eight-year $675 million comprehensive campaign, President Schmidly helped establish the UNM Foundation Inc. as an independent entity capable of conducting successful fundraising campaigns to substantially boost the university endowment, particularly in the areas of faculty development (chairs and professorships) and student scholarships/fellowships.

Since 2006, nearly 50,000 donors have contributed $380 million toward those goals. Donors have established 290 new endowments currently valued at more than $58 million. The endowments range from faculty chairs and professorships, to academic programs and graduate and undergraduate scholarships. The university's Presidential Scholarship program, one of many avenues donors can choose to support student success through scholarships, currently has 440 scholars supported by approximately 250 donors.

During the Schmidly administration, state funding supporting the Foundation has decreased nearly $574,000 from its high of $1,777,940. In the budget scenarios for FY2012, the remaining $1.2 million in I&G; funding for the Foundation has been eliminated.

Established and institutionalized a Division of Enrollment Management
The division brought together departments tasked with student enrollment and registration services to improve those services and strengthen recruitment of best quality students to the university. Since 2007, enrollment at UNM increased 12 percent, which includes a 24 percent increase in new freshmen. Importantly, ACT and SAT scores for these students have risen.

Recruitment of national scholars saw a dramatic shift upward, from 14 in 2007 to 132 in the fall of 2010, as the university committed more resources to bringing top-notch students to campus.

After a lengthy period of consensus building throughout the state, the university developed higher admission standards that were approved by the regents in the spring of 2010. Over time, it is anticipated that these will result in stronger retention and graduation rates.

Built significant education partnerships
These partnerships have been vigorously pursued with educational institutions, in the community and throughout the state to improve the university's capacity to leverage effectively its strategic mission as the flagship university and its leadership role in higher education in the state.

Stronger educational pipeline partnerships now exist with Central New Mexico Community College, with Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Bernalillo public schools, and with the Pueblos. Results are evident in the Gateway program implemented in 2008. Numbers of students offered this seamless transition from the two-year sector to UNM have grown from 23 to 132 in the fall of 2010.

Agreements for implementation of "2+2" programs have been reached with many of the community colleges around the state of New Mexico, expanding opportunities for more students to complete their education.

The long-term future of the UNM West campus in Rio Rancho has been secured, with the first academic building being constructed. Meanwhile, the Sandoval County Regional Medical Center next door has just celebrated its topping-off milestone. Interactions with all UNM branch campuses have been solidified. In addition, strong partnerships have been established with Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories and with the research mission at Kirtland Air Force Base.

Built almost one-half billion dollars of academic, student service and athletic facilities
Facilities are designed and built to strengthen the university's mission, national reputation for excellence and ability to serve students, faculty and staff. Over the past four years, 33 projects have benefitted UNM's academic mission, including construction of the Science and Math Learning Center, education buildings and UNM West in Rio Rancho. Major renovations in areas ranging from biology and chemistry to Mitchell Hall, Popejoy Hall and the Tamarind Institute are also critical.

Students can now take advantage of the Mesa Vista One-Stop and the Student Success and Services Center, as well as renovations to classrooms, the natatorium and Johnson Field.

The UNM Health Sciences Center features a number of new buildings and expansions, including the UNM Cancer Center and Domenici Health Education Center, while Athletics has seen renovation and improvement to baseball, football, soccer and track facilities as well as the major renovation to University Arena, the Pit.

Improved cooperation and trust on the main campus
President Schmidly's commitment to "shared governance" that emphasizes processes for prioritization of the academic mission was highlighted in the most recent budget process, which saw information-sharing and consensus building in a number of different committees and forums that involved the entire campus. Faculty have called the budget "not only good, but very good for academics at UNM."

With the Regents, President Schmidly expects to set realistic goals for the coming year, while striving to move the University forward, even in the face of lingering economic difficulties.

"Together we have worked hard during the past four years and have built upon a remarkable institution," he said. "I expect no less for the fifth year, which I predict will be engaging and productive."

Media contact: Susan McKinsey (505) 277-1807; e-mail: