After serving as a leader of UNM-Los Alamos since 2015, Cindy Rooney has announced that she will be stepping aside as chancellor, effective on June 30, 2022. The timing of the decision will allow the campus to conduct a nationwide search and transition. 

UNM President Garnett Stokes and Chancellor Cindy Rooney at an event on UNM-LA campus.

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve as the leader of the Los Alamos campus. I especially appreciate the opportunity to work with excellent people, both on campus and in our community,” Rooney said. “This was a difficult decision, but I do believe it is the right decision for both UNM-LA and me.”   

While Rooney desires to step aside as Chancellor, she is not retiring. The discussions on specific roles and responsibilities are ongoing and will be determined by the UNM Provost, working with the leadership at UNM-LA

In addition to her role with the LA-campus, Rooney has served as the President of the New Mexico Association of Community Colleges and works with the UNM Executive Cabinet. 

“Cindy Rooney has been a wonderful partner in leadership at UNM,” said UNM Provost James Holloway. “She has been creative and super effective as Chancellor of UNM-Los Alamos, and a dedicated advocate for the educational needs of Los Alamos and the surrounding communities.  She has also been a thoughtful leader in higher education across the State of New Mexico and is respected for her work by all her colleagues both at UNM and beyond.  We will miss her in the Chancellor role, but I know she will continue to contribute and strengthen New Mexico and UNM.” 

Last year, Rooney received the Institutional Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council for her work with UNM-LA, her commitment to economic development and for her efforts in advancing career pathways for underserved youth.

Through numerous collaborative efforts, the campus has made progress on a variety of fronts.  A few highlights for UNM-Los Alamos include: 

  • Improved financial stability: increased local funding for operations through mil levy; increased state funding for capital projects; funding from industry partnerships for special programs; federal and state grants (including a $2.3 million Department of Education grant); and a growing endowment program. 
  • New and expanded programs to target workforce needs: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (in conjunction with UNM School of Engineering); a Nuclear Enterprise Science and Technology program for selected LANL employees; programs in RCT and Waste Management Operator for N3B employees; Personal Care Attendant and Certified Nursing Assistant programs, and an expansion of the welding program. 
  • New local scholarship and internship opportunities for students: Community Internship Collaboration (CIC); the Graduation Project; and the recently announced Scholarship for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program. 
  • Stable and increasing enrollment: Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the number of students enrolled at UNM-Los Alamos has grown over the past several years, with a record high for the campus this Spring 2022 semester.  
  • Expanded relationships with Los Alamos County, Los Alamos Public Schools, LANL, N3B, Los Alamos Medical Center, local businesses, regional community colleges, and within the UNM system.

“I am extremely thankful for the opportunities that I have experienced with UNM-LA. The transition to a successful new leadership, the continued success of this campus and the future of higher education remain very important to me,” Rooney said. “I look forward to continued service to this university, while also having time to pursue some new opportunities.”   

The search for the next chancellor at UNM has started and will be facilitated by the Isaacson & Miller search firm.