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Editorial: Abdallah served UNM well

For University of New Mexico Provost Chaouki Abdallah and his family, it’s an amazing opportunity. For members of the UNM and Albuquerque communities – and for New Mexico as a whole – the news Abdallah is leaving UNM is bittersweet given all that he has contributed to the university during his roughly 30-year career at the institution.

Abdallah will be leaving to become executive vice president for research at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Abdallah’s alma mater. In that job, he will direct Georgia Tech’s $824 million research program.

He came to UNM as an assistant professor in electrical engineering in 1988 and eventually became the chair of the department. He was named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs in 2011.

He took over as UNM’s president on Jan. 1, 2017, after Bob Frank stepped down from the position amid a dispute with regents. Abdallah remained in that position through a presidential search and until Garnett Stokes assumed the job on March 1, 2018, at which time he returned to the provost’s office.

Abdallah was forced to navigate several athletics controversies and a budget shortfall during his brief stint as president, but he did it with a steady hand and with grace. UNM was fortunate to have him in the classroom and at the helm.

We wish him luck.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.