MU Provost Stokes to Leave to Become President of University of New Mexico

Nov 2, 2017

Garnett Stokes
Credit University of Missouri

NOTE: This story will be updated

University of Missouri Provost Garnett Stokes will leave the University of Missouri to become the next President of the University of New Mexico.

UNM made the announcement Thursday morning, stating that Stokes will take over the role on March 1, 2018. Stokes had been announced as one of the five finalists for the job last month.

In an email to MU faculty and staff Thursday, MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said that he expects the school to launch a national search immediately, and to identify an interim provost “in the coming weeks.”

In a written statement, Stokes said, "“I have been privileged to serve Mizzou for nearly three years as provost and executive vice chancellor. This is a great university with a very promising future, and it is a pleasure working with the new leadership team, but I have a wonderful opportunity to serve as President of the flagship public research university in New Mexico, and yesterday I signed the contract accepting the position.  I won’t start there until March 1, and I have much to accomplish here before I leave. When I go, I will take with me the memories of unforgettable colleagues at Mizzou who are committed to serving the needs of our campus community and the citizens of Missouri, and who have deeply enriched my life. Thank you.”

Stokes left her job as Provost at Florida State University to join MU as provost in February 2015. She also served as interim chancellor at MU from May through August of this year. She is the highest-ranking MU administrator to stay in her position throughout the tumultuous period at the University that began in 2015.

In the announcement, UNM Board of Regents’ President Rob Doughty said, “We are proud and honored to announce that Garnett Stokes has accepted our offer to become UNM's next president. 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.”

CEO of UNM Los Alamos Cynthia Rooney was on the presidential search committee and says Stokes' accomplishments and abilities set her apart.

“We were impressed with her experiences, her skills, and her ability to work with others to develop a shared vision,” Rooney said.

MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright was also quoted in the UNM release, saying:

“Garnett Stokes is an exemplary leader who has made positive contributions to our culture that will impact Mizzou for years to come,” Cartwright said. “I am delighted for her personally, but I will miss the opportunity to continue to work with Dr. Stokes so closely. Among her many accomplishments at Mizzou, Dr. Stokes led a very complex budgeting process this summer, established the university’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX and has hired nine of our 12 deans. She excels at finding the right leaders for critical positions—individuals who are academically very strong but also a good fit for the institution and committed to student success. Garnett is a smart, capable leader who will be a great asset to the University of New Mexico. I wish her all the best.”

According to Rooney, Stokes’ greatest strength is her familiarity with every level of a college campus.

“I was personally impressed by her ability to connect with various constituents, whether we were talking about the regents or the students, faculty, staff, community members,” Rooney said.