Sandra Begay first started her University of New Mexico career when she received her Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering in 1987. After working at a national laboratory and leading science and engineering programs, Begay, a native New Mexican, returned to the University in 2000 and served on the Board of Regents until 2006. In 2008, Begay served on the Board of the Trustees through the UNM Foundation.

Now, she is returning to the Board of Regents after more than 10 years. 

When Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Begay’s nomination, Begay said she was very happy. 

“I want to support the students — that’s part of the University’s main role is to help our students graduate,” Begay said. 

She said she hopes to bring some changes to the Board of Regents, especially to something that has haunted the current crop of Regents.

“We have to work on some transparency issues so that those who need to know about what the University is doing are able to get the information,” Begay said. 

Transparency has been an issue the Board of Regents have continuously struggled with. The Daily Lobo has extensively reported on issues dealing with the lack of transparency regarding the decision to cut four sports teams and even to to a University professor blasting Regent Marron Lee for not declaring a particular meeting to be public.  

With this in mind, Begay said open meetings should be emphasized to improve transparency.

Begay said it is important for Regents to have a quorum, be public about meetings and limit the items that are in the executive session. 

“Having that being consistent and following Open Meetings Acts are very important for the Board of Regents to follow,” Begay said. 

After being confirmed by the state Senate on Friday, Feb. 15., Begay will begin her four-year term. Begay said she hopes the Governor’s four other Regent nominees will bring in fresh leadership and that each regent was nominated for a reason. 

“I have experience,” Begay said, noting her six-years of experience as a former Regent. 

“I have been teasing people at the University — they’re happy to see me, which is great and I say ‘remember, this is not my first rodeo,’” Begay said jokingly. 

When asked about the Regents’ decision to cut four sports teams in 2018, Begay said she does not feel up-to-speed on the issue and expects to be filled in when she begins her tenure. However, she said she wants to be supportive of student athletes while keeping in mind how money should be managed.  

“You’ve gotta know what is going on with the finances at all levels at the University, however, what’s part of the team that handles those finances is to report back to the Regents, so we could take a look at the broader picture,” Begay said, adding that she is not a micromanager. 

Anthony Jackson is photo editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted by email at or on Twitter @TonyAnjackson.