Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Saturday the nomination of five appointments to The University of New Mexico Board of Regents. The diverse group of leaders include some familiar names at UNM with several having previous ties to the University.

The governor submitted to the Senate Rules Committee the following nominations for appointment:

  • Sandra K. Begay
  • Douglas M. Brown
  • Kimberly Sanchez Rael
  • Robert Schwartz
  • Melissa C. Henry, student regent

Sanchez Rael and Schwartz were nominated to six-year terms, while Begay and Brown were nominated to four-year terms. Henry was appointed for two years. The appointments commenced Friday, Feb. 8.

“I am proud to nominate this incredible group that I am confident will be dedicated to ensuring equity, ​responsibility, and accountability at the University of New Mexico,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “I eagerly look forward to their stewardship of New Mexico’s flagship university.” 

Begay (2001-2006) and Brown (2003-2005) each have served on the UNM Board together previously. Begay has also served on the Board of Trustees of the UNM Foundation from 2008 to 2011. She has dedicated most of her career to science, focusing on engineering and energy development. Most recently she has worked on developing and managing renewables with Sandia National Laboratory’s Indian Energy Program.

Begay has also committed her time to non-profit initiatives in the field of science including the National Academies of Science and the National Science Foundation Committee on Equity in Science and Engineering. A UNM alumnus, Begay holds a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering from UNM and a Master’s in Structural Engineering from Stanford University.

Brown is a recognized financial leader with more than 50 years of experience in finance, currently as the head of Brown and Brown Ventures. Previously he served on the UNM Board for two years before his appointment as State Treasurer of New Mexico in 2005. He achieved the state’s first AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s during his time as State Treasurer.

Brown also served as the Dean of the UNM Anderson School of Management from 2009 to 2014 and was awarded the title of Dean Emeritus upon retirement. Brown holds a Bachelor’s and an MBA from Stanford University.

Schwartz has more than 40 years of experience teaching law at universities across the country and the world, including the UNM School of Law, where he is the Henry Weihofen Professor of Law Emeritus. He has additionally taught at UNM at the School of Medicine, Honors College Freshman Seminar Program, and several other programs.

Schwartz has previously served as General Counsel for the New Mexico Human Services Department and the Chair of the New Mexico Health Policy Commission. He holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Rael has an extensive background in business, where she has filled several roles from entrepreneur to investor, currently as acting President and CEO of SRE Wellness, Inc. (dba Azuca). She served on the New Mexico State Board of Finance from 2003 to 2009, where she oversaw the fiscal affairs of the state.

Rael has experience that extends over multiple industries including water technology, semiconductors, software-as-a-service, digital media, optics, hardware, banking and retail. She holds a Bachelor’s in International Relations/Latin American Studies from Harvard and an MBA in General Management from Stanford University.

Nominated as UNM’s student regent, Henry is working on her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision with a minor in Quantitative Methods in Education from UNM. She is a licensed mental health counselor with over five years related professional experience in the field working at student health and autism centers.

Henry has worked as both a couples and family counselor with focus on working with parents seeking reunification with children. She holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Counseling from California State University, Fresno.

The appointees were selected by the governor from a group of recommended applicants submitted by the selection committee. The committee's recommendations were chosen by a process created with input and criteria developed by the governor’s higher education transition team.

The appointees assume their duties, responsibilities, and authorities as regents immediately upon having been submitted to the Senate.  They join current Regents President Robert Doughty and Vice President Marron Lee, who are serving terms through 2020.

For more information, visit UNM Board of Regents.