RH Perry & Associates Assists New Mexico Highlands University with President Search

January 4, 2024 – RH Perry & Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Neil Woolf as the 19th president of New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU). Sam Minner recently retired after nine years with the school. Senior consultants Sue DeWine and Pam Shockley-Zalabak led the assignment. Dr. Woolf has been appointed to a conditional five-year term with an annual salary of $290,000, and he will begin his term once current president Dr. Minner has completed his contract, no later than July 1, 2024. Dr. Woolf was selected from a field of over 80 candidates. The board of regents charged the search committee and its chairman, Brandon Kempner, to conduct an open and transparent search that incorporated feedback received from students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the residents of the Las Vegas community, the advice and assistance of RH Perry & Associates, and within the parameters set out by New Mexico state statute.

“The time the committee spent screening, interviewing, and hosting the candidates on campus was invaluable in helping the regents make the best possible selection for Highlands,” Dr. Kempner said. “The Las Vegas community warmly hosted the candidates during the campus interviews and shared their feedback with the regents. All this participation made for a truly inclusive process, and we are extremely optimistic about the future of Highlands.”

NMHU board of regents chairman William García is pleased with the outcome of the search process and is looking forward to working with Dr. Woolf. “Throughout the interview process, Dr. Woolf demonstrated his strong understanding and support for Hispanic Serving Institutions,” he said. “His previous work with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) included helping establish the first HSI in Nevada.”

“Dr. Woolf was selected because he possesses the best range of experiences and credentials–that’s really what allowed him to emerge from the outstanding candidates in our search,” Mr. Garcia said. “The regents were impressed by his experience in recruitment and enrollment and his extensive academic and financial experience.”

Dr. Woolf brings over 22 years of higher education administrative experience to NMHU. He currently serves as the EVP for Southern Oregon University (SOU), a public university in Ashland, Oregon. He also served SOU as the VP of enrollment management and student affairs from 2019-2023. Dr. Woolf also served as the enrollment officer and interim assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2018 and the associate vice president for enrollment management at Eastern Washington University from 2013-18.

“I am grateful and honored to be able to serve as the president of New Mexico Highlands,” Dr. Woolf said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to build upon the success of our students and the success of the institution. I believe in the mission of New Mexico Highlands, and I know that we will do good work on behalf of the institution and its communities.”

Related: RH Perry & Associates Recruits President for Onondaga Community College

New Mexico Highlands University was founded in 1893. It is a public, state-funded, regional comprehensive university. The school is a Hispanic Serving Institution and an aspiring Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution, with open admissions and master’s level programs serving more than 68 percent Hispanic, Native American, and African American students.

Proven Higher Education Recruiters

Established in 1974, RH Perry & Associates offers strong credentials and experience in academic executive search, having successfully completed well over 1,000 searches in its history. Serving both two-year and four-year institutions, the firm’s higher education practice consists of senior-level executives with a well-balanced mix of college and university presidential and senior administrative experience and executive search expertise. Headquartered in Ashville, NC, RH Perry’s consultants maintain offices in Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.

Dr. DeWine has 45 years of experience as a higher education administrator, and fundraiser. She joined RH Perry & Associates in 2015 after more than 40 years in higher education. She has had a successful career in academia with extensive experience as an administrator, fundraiser, and communication consultant. She was a full-time professor and consultant to the industry in a large public institution and provost and president at two small private colleges. Her expertise is academics.

Dr. Shockley-Zalabak joined RH Perry & Associates in 2023 after more than 35 years in higher education. She is chancellor and professor emerita of the University of Colorado Springs and the author of nine books and over 100 other publications and productions. Dr. Shockley-Zalabak is also president of CommuniCon Inc., an organizational and leadership development corporation, with clients in the U.S. and Europe.

Related: RH Perry & Associates Recruits CFO for California State University Stanislaus

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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