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Senate confirms UNM regents

SANTA FE – Three new members of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents were unanimously confirmed by the Senate on Monday.

The confirmations complete Gov. Susana Martinez’s appointments of Regent Conrad James, a former Republican state representative from Albuquerque, Regent Suzanne Quillen, a hospital administrator and nurse practitioner from Las Cruces, and student Regent Heidi Overton, a second-year UNM medical student originally from Gallup.

“I think UNM is going to have a wonderful stable of new regents with these three people,” said Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces.

James’ professional and academic background as a biomedical research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories with a Ph.D. from Cornell University drew praise from both Republican and Democratic senators who said his experience is what UNM needs on its Board of Regents.

Sen. Daniel Ivey-Soto, D-Albuquerque, said James’ academic and professional experiences are a necessary complement to the membership of the Board of Regents for a research university like UNM.

James lost his bid for re-election to the state House in November.

Senators commended Quillen’s work in health care as an asset to benefit UNM’s Health Sciences Center.

Quillen is the CEO of Advanced Care Hospital of Southern New Mexico, a long-term, acute-care hospital in Las Cruces. Quillen previously worked for UNM as a nurse educator.

University regents serve six-year terms on the seven-member board. The student regent serves a two-year term.

The new members will replace Regent Don Chalmers, Regent Carolyn Abeita and student Regent Jake Wellman, whose terms expired in December. Abeita and Wellman had continued to serve on the board until the governor’s new appointments were confirmed.

James began work on the board earlier this year after Chalmers stepped down.
— This article appeared on page C2 of the Albuquerque Journal