Jack Fortner, the longest-serving member of The University of New Mexico’s governing board, resigned as a UNM regent Tuesday.
A native New Mexican, Fortner is a UNM alumnus who had served as a UNM regent for 18 years. He is the only person in New Mexico to ever be appointed to three consecutive terms, and by three Governors to terms on the Board of Regents for UNM.
Fortner was first appointed to a six-year term on the UNM Board of Regents in 1998 by Gov. Gary Johnson. In 2004, Gov. Bill Richardson re-appointed Regent Fortner to the Board of Regents for a term of 2004 to 2010. He was re-appointed to the Board of Regents by Gov. Susanna Martinez in 2010.
Fortner's latest six-year term concluded in December 2016, but he continued to serve on the board pending Senate confirmation of new appointees by Martinez, which didn’t happen during this year’s 60-day session.
Fortner served as president of the Board in 2005, and has also served as president for the year 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. He also served as vice president of the Board from 2001 to 2004, and again from 2006 to 2010. From 1998 to 2010, he served as chairman of the Health Science Committee of the Board of Regents.
Fortner also chaired the Search Committee for the UNM Presidential Search of 2012 which resulted in the hiring of the former UNM President, Dr. Bob Frank. Fortner was also a member of the Search Committee for the UNM Athletic Director in 2007, which hired Paul Krebs. He was also a member of the Search Committee for the UNM Head Football Coach in 2012, which resulted in the hiring of Bob Davie.
Fortner has also served his community in a variety of areas and was recently re-elected as a County Commissioner in San Juan County, in November of 2016 for a term beginning 2017 through 2020. Currently, Fortner serves as Chairman Pro Tem. Fortner was elected to the San Juan County Commission in November of 2011 for a term beginning 2012 through 2016. He served as chairman of the Commission in 2014, and for the year 2016 served as Chairman Pro Tem and in 2017 will serve as chairman of the County Commission.
He previously served on the San Juan County Commission; the Labor Management Relations Board for the City of Farmington; the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board; and as president of the San Juan County Bar. He is also a member of the New Mexico Bar and San Juan County Bar Association.
Fortner, who grew up in Farmington, is an attorney and senior partner in the firm of Fortner & Quail, LLC. Fortner graduated from UNM with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1978. He then obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Michigan in 1981.
Fortner is married to Terri Fortner, a nurse practitioner in Farmington. They have two daughters, Suzanne a graduate of UNM Law School, and Krissy, an undergraduate at UNM.