Board of Regents Members

Douglas M. Brown

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Douglas M. Brown is a recognized financial leader with many years of banking and finance experience, currently as the head of Brown and Brown Ventures. Brown was previously appointed to the UNM Board of Regents in 2003 and served on the board until he was appointed State Treasurer of New Mexico in 2005, where he achieved the state’s first AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s. He served as the Dean of the UNM Anderson School of Management from 2009 to 2014 and was awarded the title of Dean Emeritus upon retirement. Other previous positions include Trustee of Stanford University, CEO of Tuition Plan Consortium, CEO of Talbot Financial, CEO of ABQ Bank, and EVP of Wells Fargo Bank. In 2013, Brown was named Top CEO of the Year by Albuquerque Business First, and in 2015 was awarded the Distinguished Leadership Award by Leadership NM.

Brown has been active in the non-profit sector as well, serving on over fifty boards of directors including chairing twenty of them. Locally, his chairmanships have included the United Way, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque Community Foundation, Anderson Foundation, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Brown holds a Bachelor’s and an MBA from Stanford University. Doug Brown has also served on 14 boards and commissions for the State of New Mexico.

Term Ending: 12/31/2022

Boards and Committees

  • Audit and Compliance Committee, Chair
  • Student Success, Teaching and Research Committee (SSTAR)
  • Governance Committee
  • Honorary Degree Committee
  • UNM Alumni Association Board of Directors
  • Sandia Foundation Board of Directors

Kimberly Sanchez Rael
Vice Chair

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Kim Sanchez Rael is a passionate business leader, a startup veteran and investor in innovation. She has extensive experience as an operating executive and as a venture capitalist, focusing on early-stage investments in technology companies. Rael is currently the President and CEO of SRE Wellness, Inc. (dba Azuca).

Rael has an extensive background in both startup and fortune 50 Companies. Before her career in venture, she co-founded an advanced energy company and held numerous management positions at Intel, where she managed a $200 million capital budget, led planning for a $1 Billion expansion, and held roles in finance, operations and strategic planning. Prior to Intel, she served as an aide in the US Senate focusing on foreign affairs and science and technology policy. 

Rael has broad experience on both corporate and community boards. Her corporate board experience spans multiple industries, including: water technology, semiconductors, software-as-a-service, digital media and advanced materials companies. Rael’s community board service includes: New Mexico State Board of Finance; Presbyterian Hospital, the Albuquerque Public Schools Foundation and the Arts Alliance. Rael was the Founding President for a Montessori Charter School. She has been featured as New Mexico Business Weekly Power Broker and Top 10 Women of Influence. Rael is a member of the prestigious international Society of Kauffman Fellows, a Rotary Scholar and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Forum-New Mexico.

Rael has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.

Term Ending: 12/31/2024

Boards and Committees

  • Student Success, Teaching and Research Committee (SSTAR), Chair
  • Governance Committee, Vice Chair
  • Lobo Development Corporation Board of Directors
  • UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors

Sandra K. Begay
Secretary Treasurer

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Sandra K. Begay is a former regent of the University of New Mexico and has worked for Sandia National Laboratories for 27 years as a Principal Member of the Technical Staff. Begay headed Sandia's technical efforts in the Indian Energy Program to assist Native American tribes with renewable energy development. Prior to this, she also worked at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Begay is a former Executive Director of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), former chair of the AISES Board of Directors, and the recipient of the AISES Lifetime Achievement Award. Begay was a founder of the UNM AISES Chapter as a student leader. In 2000, Begay was the recipient of the Stanford University 2000 Multicultural Alumni of the Year Award. She has also been selected as a recipient of the Governor's Award for Outstanding Women from the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women. Begay recently received the Alumni Circle Award from the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) for her lifetime contributions to the advancement of Native American students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers. Currently, Begay is the site mentor at UNM-Gallup for the NM Rainforest University Center program. Begay holds a Bachelor's in Civil Engineering from UNM and a Master's in Structural Engineering from Stanford University.

Term Ending: 12/31/2022

Boards and Committees

  • Finance and Facilities Committee, Chair
  • UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors, Chair
  • UNM Alumni Association Board of Directors

Jack L. Fortner

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Jack L. Fortner is an attorney in Farmington, New Mexico and the Senior Partner in the Firm of Fortner & Beckstead, LLC. 

Fortner grew up in Farmington, New Mexico and graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1978 and obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree.  While at UNM he was a student senator and a member of the NMPIRG Board.  He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Fortner then obtained his Juris Doctor Degree from the University of Michigan in 1981. 

Regent Fortner was appointed to the Board of Regents by Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham for the term of January 2021 through December 2026.   Regent Fortner was first appointed to the Board in 1998 by Governor Gary Johnson to a six-year term of 1998 to 2004.  In 2004, Governor Bill Richardson re-appointed Regent Fortner to the Board of Regents for a term from 2004 to 2010.  Governor Susanna Martinez re-appointed him from 2010 to 2016.  Regent Fortner is the only person in New Mexico to ever be appointed to four terms, on the Board of Regents for UNM.

Jack Fortner served as President of the Board in 2005 and has also served as President for the years 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.

Fortner also served as Vice-President of the Board from 2001 to 2004, and again from 2006 to 2010.  From 1998 to 2010, he served as Chairman of the Health Science Committee of the Board of Regents.

President Fortner also chaired the Search Committee for the UNM Presidential Search which resulted in the hiring of the former President of UNM, Dr. Bob Frank.  Fortner was also a member of the Search Committee for the UNM Athletic Director which hired Paul Krebs, and he was also a member of the Search Committee for the UNM Football Coach which resulted in the hiring of Bob Davie.

Jack Fortner served on the San Juan County Commissioner for four terms, with his most recent term ending in December of 2020. Fortner previously served on the San Juan County Commission from 1996 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2004.  He then served from 2012 to 2020. He served as Chairman of the Commission in 1997, 2000, 2003,2014, 2017,2019, and 2020.  He also served as Chairman Pro Tem in 1999 and 2002, and again in 2013,2016 and 2018.

Fortner served as Chairman of the Labor Management Relations Board for the City of Farmington from 1995 to 1998, which decided disputes between employees and management.

Fortner also served on the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board from 1994 to 1996.

Fortner is a member of the New Mexico Bar and San Juan County Bar Association and served as President of the San Juan County Bar for the term of 1994 to 1995.

Fortner has also served as the Domestic Relations Hearing Officer for the Eleventh Judicial District Court, San Juan County, New Mexico and served as the Alternate Domestic Violence Commissioner from February 2003 through 2010.  He also served as the Alternate Farmington Municipal Judge from 1994 to 2009. 

Regent Fortner was awarded the Lobo Award by the UNM Alumni Association; the Community Leadership Award by the Hispanic Round table of New Mexico; and an Honorary Letterman by the UNM Letterman’s Association.

Fortner is married to Terri Fortner, a current San Juan County Commissioner, and is a nurse practitioner in Farmington, NM, and they have 2 daughters.

Term Ending: 12/31/2026

Boards and Committees

  • Health Sciences Center Committee, Vice Chair
  • Lobo Energy, Inc. Board of Directors
  • Honorary Degree Committee

Randy Ko
Student Regent

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Randy Ko is a current combined M.D./Ph.D. candidate with the UNM School of Medicine and the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program. Ko received a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in East Asian Studies (Chinese) at the University of New Mexico in 2018. Randy Ko is a lifelong New Mexican and was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

As an undergraduate student, Ko served as a UNM Trailblazer Student Alumni Ambassador and Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) Senator. As an ASUNM Senator, Ko served as a voting member of the Student Fee Review Board for the FY 2016-2017 budget cycle, Student Publication Board, and ASUNM Finance Committee. As a medical student, Ko served on the UNM School of Medicine Learning Environment Office Advisory Committee and the UNM School of Medicine Curriculum Committee, among others.

Ko has previously conducted research with institutions abroad and locally with the UNM Cancer Research Facility, and Sandia National Laboratory Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). As a result of his research profile, Ko was named a 2017 Goldwater Scholar. Ko is a graduate student actively conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Eric Prossnitz with the Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine at the UNM School of Medicine.

Term Ending: 12/31/2022

Boards and Committees

  • Student Success, Teaching and Research Committee, Vice Chair
  • Health Sciences Center Committee
  • Finance and Facilities Committee

William H. Payne

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Bill Payne was raised in Albuquerque, and following completion of undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of New Mexico, entered the Navy in 1975. During his first 11 years of active duty, he served in Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN, SEAL Team ONE, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Naval Special Warfare Unit ONE.  Additionally, the Navy sent Bill to Georgetown University where he earned an MA in Government and a certificate in National Security Studies, eventually earning a Navy designation as a Middle East/Africa/South Asia Politico/Military sub-specialist. 

Returning to Albuquerque from active duty in 1986, Bill completed his JD degree at the University of New Mexico School of Law where he was Associate Editor of the Natural Resources Journal. He is currently licensed to practice law in New Mexico and the District of Columbia.

Bill was made an Honorary UNM Letterman in 2012, and was recognized by the UNM Alumni Association with the Higher Education Distinguished Legislator Award in 2013.

Bill eventually became the first career reserve Navy SEAL to be promoted to Rear Admiral. He served in the Navy for nearly 35 years of active and reserve service including multiple recalls to active duty before retiring in October of 2009. Among his senior level positions, he served as Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy at United States Central Command, Director of Operations at United States Special Operations Command, and Deputy Commander, United States Navy Special Warfare Command.

First elected to the New Mexico Senate in 1996, Bill was the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, a member of the Energy Council, a Commissioner of the Uniform Law Commission, and the recognized leader for utility, veteran/military affairs, and natural resource issues in the Senate.  He served as Minority Whip for 12 years. 

Bill is married to Deborah Payne, a retired Commander U.S. Navy, and a retired manager at Sandia National Laboratories.

Term Ending: 12/31/2026

Boards and Committees

  • Audit and Compliance Committee, Vice Chair
  • Finance and Facilities Committee, Vice Chair
  • Lobo Development Corporation Board of Directors, Chair
  • Honorary Degree Committee

Robert L. Schwartz

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Robert L. Schwartz has more than forty years of experience in teaching law at universities across the country and the world, spending most of his professional career at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where he is the Henry Weihofen Professor of Law Emeritus. After joining the UNM law faculty in 1976, Schwartz focused his research and teaching in the emerging field of Health Law and has gone on to become a nationally recognized scholar in the area of Bioethics, bringing this expertise also into School of Medicine classrooms.

Schwartz is one of five authors of Health Law: Cases, Materials and Problems, the leading Health Law textbook in the country first published in 1987; has written Treatise on Health Law, a two-volume textbook published in 1995; and is co-editor of a volume of Health Law statutes published in 2003. Most recently, Schwartz' writing is in the areas of end-of-life care, death and dying, managed care and the application of civil liberties principles to the health care enterprise. Schwartz has served on the editorial boards of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare EthicsJournal of Contemporary Health Law and Policy and the Medical Law Review. Through the World Health Organization, he has worked as a consultant on health legislation in Cambodia, Tonga and Vietnam.

Schwartz has previously served as General Counsel for the New Mexico Human Services Department and the Chair of the New Mexico Health Policy Commission. Schwartz holds a Bachelors in Philosophy from Stanford University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Term Ending: 12/31/2024

Boards and Committees

  • Health Sciences Center Committee, Chair
  • Governance Committee, Chair
  • Audit and Compliance Committee
  • UNM Foundation Board of Directors
  • UNM Hospital Board of Trustees