“Celebration of leadership” held for Provost Garnett Stokes before she takes presidency at University of New Mexico

Stokes will take office for her new position in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on March 1.
Garnett S. Stokes addresses the crowd at her farewell reception on Jan. 30, 2018. Stokes, who has served as MU provost since 2015 and as interim chancellor from May to August 2017, was recently appointed as president of the University of New Mexico. During her address, Stokes elaborated on the importance of university administration. “We make a difference in the states that we’re in, and we transform the lives of the students that are here but we also have tremendous impact on everyone in our states,” Stokes said.

Provost Garnett S. Stokes received warm wishes at her farewell reception Tuesday, as she will take office as president of the University of New Mexico on March 1.

After a 10-month search headed by 22 committee members, Stokes was chosen to succeed interim President Chaouki Abdallah as the new president of the University of New Mexico, according to a press release from UNM.

Stokes has served MU since February 2015. In that time, she has appointed multiple deans and a vice provost, served as interim chancellor and helped create the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX on campus.

MU hosted a “celebration of leadership” in Stotler Lounge to acknowledge Stokes’ efforts during her time here.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright was the emcee for the event as he introduced the faculty speakers and made his own remarks about Stokes’ departure. Cartwright said Stokes has left an impression on MU that the community will continue to see.

“She has put new policies and personnel in place that helped ensure Mizzou can continue to achieve our missions of teaching, research, service and economic development,” Cartwright said.

UM System President Mun Choi attended the reception and said Stokes has been a constant at MU during trying times. He also said Stokes’ qualities as a leader have created a path to continue improving MU.

“Her credibility with the faculty [and] with a community was built on her belief in the principles of being sincere, genuine, honest, caring and collaborative and really developed the foundation that [Cartwright] and I are now building on,” Choi said.

After her colleagues expressed thanks and well wishes, Stokes was the last to speak during the reception. She spoke of how she will be watching MU grow after she is gone and said how important land-grant universities are for students and their communities.

“I think that I've come to appreciate, even more with my experience at Mizzou, the value of relationships at every level of the university,” Stokes said. “That's something that I've really learned here and I will take it with me.”

Nathan Willett, Missouri Students Association president, said he was grateful for Stokes’ respect for and commitment to students and the MU community.

“On behalf of the students, I cannot thank you enough for your dedication to all stakeholders and always being willing to communicate what you truly meant and treating us, not just as students, but as equally important stakeholders, making Mizzou the strongest university it can be,” Willett said.

Stokes said she does not “regret for a minute” that she has spent three years of her life here, and that there are remarkable people at this university.

Donations were taken before and during the event for a contribution to the Heart of Missouri United Way, which Stokes is involved in as a board member.

Edited by Morgan Smith | mosmith@themaneater.com

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