The University of New Mexico has found its next president, the first woman in the school’s history to serve in the top position.

Garnett S. Stokes was selected and approved as UNM 22nd president in a unanimous Board of Regents vote this week, according to the UNM Newsroom.

“We are proud and honored to announce that Garnett Stokes has accepted our offer to become UNM’s next president,” said Board President Rob Doughty in the official announcement. “This is a transformational time at UNM, and Dr. Stokes brings the experience, skills and vision that UNM needs in a president to drive UNM beyond just its potential.”

Stokes will operate under a five-year contract and an annual salary of $400,000 and will assume her position on March 1, 2018, according to the UNM Newsroom.

The decision follows a 10-month search conducted by a 22-person committee chaired by Doughty and aided by national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.

The candidates underwent three weeks of public dialogue, Board of Regents inquiries and meetings with campus administration, the UNM Newsroom reported. Stokes experienced broad support during all of these events.

“She was hands down the consensus candidate,” Doughty told the UNM newsroom. “I am confident that with her passion for higher education, commitment to both student and faculty success and experience in developing strong leadership teams, that she is the perfect fit to be president of UNM.”

University leadership praised the decision, including Associated Students of the University of New Mexico President Noah Brooks.

“I hope that President Stokes will be able to identify the University’s weaknesses and make them our strengths,” Brooks said. “One thing I am really hoping for is that she will listen to students, staff and faculty alike in the shared governance process. If all constituents feel as though they have a voice at the table, then everyone will be happier, as we will have a more inclusive environment. I am excited to work with President Stokes to ensure this is done.”

Interim Provost Craig White and Interim President Chaouki Abdallah welcomed Stokes in campus-wide emails on Friday.

“The first female president will truly be an historic moment for the University,” White wrote. “I am confident that President Stokes will find broad support and goodwill as she begins her term in March.”

He added that he will resume his position as Dean of the Anderson School of Management at that time, and a permanent Provost will be named.

“I would like to personally congratulate and welcome Dr. Garnett Stokes as the new president of the University of New Mexico,” Abdallah wrote in his email. “I look forward to her leadership and supporting her in this role. The campus really came together to learn about the candidates, welcome them to our campus and provide feedback to the regents for this important selection...(i)t has truly been an honor to be a part of the University’s journey during the last year, and I look forward to welcoming the new president to the campus in March 2018.”

Stokes will join the UNM family after a variety of high-ranking administrative roles at other institutions.

She currently serves as provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Missouri and briefly served as interim chancellor there this year. She also previously held administrative positions at Florida State University as provost, executive vice president for academic affairs and interim president.

Gabriella Rivera is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter as @gabbychlamps.