SANTA FE -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson appointed four new regents for the University of New Mexico Wednesday, replacing three regents whose terms had expired and one who resigned.
He also named regents for the seven other universities and colleges in New Mexico.
The new members of the UNM Board of Regents are James H. Koch, Donald Salazar, Maria Griego-Raby and Andrea Cook.
They will be replacing Judith Herrera, who resigned before her term ended and Richard Toliver and David Archuleta, who resigned at the end of their terms. Cook will replace Eric Anaya as student regent.
Richardson said he took several factors into consideration, including recommendations from ASUNM, GPSA and the Faculty Senate, along with recommendations from UNM President Chris Garcia, which he said had not been done before.
" I did my own checking of the student regents with the organizations that were mentioned," Richardson said. "So we didn't always pick the choice of the president. But I want the views of students and student organizations. I want the student regents to be active."
UNM Graduate and Professionals Association President Lorena Olmos said she was thrilled with Cook's appointment.
"Our committee sent forward three names and Andrea was one of the candidates who we felt was a solid recommendation," Olmos said. "Andrea will be a great person for the position."
She added that she is looking forward to working with the new regents and hopes that they take the ideas of the representatives of the student body to heart.
Cook was the 2001-02 Associated Students of UNM president. She earned her bachelor's degree last year in communications and journalism and is currently working on a master's of business administration.
"I'm really ecstatic about it," Cook said. "It's an honor to serve the UNM students and community in this type of capacity."
She said her knowledge of the University and state government would help her excel as a regent.
Koch is a UNM alumnus and the outgoing chairman of the state Democratic Party. He has been a member of the UNM Alumni Association and board of directors of the Lobo Club. He is currently president of Daniels Insurance in Santa Fe.
Salazar is a lawyer from Santa Fe. He has worked with several civic and cultural organizations in Santa Fe and is the president of the first Judicial Bar Association of New Mexico.
Griego-Raby received her master's of business administration from UNM in 1986. She was recently named to the Hispanic Business Top 500 list and is a former president of the UNM Alumni Association.
The appointments come on the heels of Richardson calling for the resignation of all the regents in the state earlier this month. However, he asked some regents, including the UNM regent president, Larry Willard, to stay.
Regs. Sandra Begay-Campbell and Jack Fortner have gone on record as saying they will not resign. Herrera, the only regent who responded to Richardson's request, could not immediately be reached for comment.
"The main message is a governor should be allowed his own team," Richardson said. "I want regents that will implement my agenda. I want to say to you that I have not been satisfied with the pace and the development in higher education in our state in the last eight years. I have felt that faculty has not been paid right, that the state government has not helped our state institutions as much as they should."
He added that he probably would not take the removal of the regents issue to the state supreme court.
Richardson said Tuesday in the his State of the State address that he would like to be known as the "education governor."
He said Wednesday that the appointment of the new regents will help create jobs in the state and improve the quality of life. To achieve this, the governor is proposing a new position -- endowed chairs for each research university. Richardson said that higher education and economic development are closely tied. He is asking the state for $3 million dollars for each research university, with New Mexico businesses and private firms to contribute $6 million.
"I know of no state with an effective economic development strategy that doesn't link economic development to its higher education," Richardson said.
Richardson said he believes he can achieve the educational goals he has set with the appointment of the new regents.
"This is a new vision that I have and I think that these regents will reflect that vision," Richardson said.