The Board of Regents selected the endowed chair of a program designed to educate students on sustainable food and agriculture.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation gave UNM $1.5 million in November 2010 to fund an endowed chair in sustainable environmental food systems.

Sustainability Studies professor Bruce Milne was selected for the position at Wednesday’s regents’ meeting.

“The purpose of the endowed chair is to promote social, environmental and economic well-being through teaching, research, outreach and economic development focused on sustainable agriculture,” the statement from the foundation said.

Milne said he created the UNM Sustainability Studies program to educate students about the environmental, economic and social consequences of their actions.

Milne has been instrumental in making UNM a greener institution, said Mary Clark, sustainability coordinator at the Office of Sustainability. She said, during his UNM career, Milne created energy conservation projects, promoted local food systems education and managed carbon emissions management for the University.

“I don’t think we can emphasize enough how much he’s done to bring sustainability to UNM,” she said.

William Uher, UNM Foundation vice president, said establishing the endowed chair will help the University acquire faculty.

“The endowed chair, from the foundation’s perspective and from our dean’s perspective, it is the highest honor that the University and the regents can bestow upon a faculty member,” he said.

*Also at the Board of Regents Meeting: *

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Office for Equity and Inclusion presented the results of an ongoing initiative to diversify UNM’s faculty. Three years ago, the Board of Regents allocated funds to the Office for Equity and Inclusion to hire more faculty members of various racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Chalane Lechuga, the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s institutional researcher, said in more than three years the number of African-American faculty increased by five, American Indian by seven and Hispanics by 27. She said the initiative improved faculty diversity, but more work needs to be done.

“We really have a long way to go in terms of looking at faculty across our institution in the various disciplines and figuring out where we might be able to fill in the gaps where we don’t have the kind of representation we’d like to see,” she said.