March 23, 2021

photo of Dr. Frank Sanchez

Dr. Frank Sanchez
Photo Courtesy Jenna Luna

Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Dr. Frank Sanchez to the Highlands University Board of Regents with the State Senate confirming the appointment March 13, 2021.

Sanchez is a retired dentist from Las Vegas, New Mexico. His term on the Highlands University Board of Regents continues to Dec. 31, 2026. The State Senate also confirmed the reappointment of Highlands University student regent Christopher Ulibarri to another two-year term.

“I have a lifelong dedication to service advocating for the well-being of the people of Northern New Mexico,” Sanchez said. “My main area of interest as a new regent at Highlands is to make higher education available to all. I hope I can help Highlands grow and move forward. My main goal is to see a resurgence on the Las Vegas campus.”

Sanchez served on the Highlands Board of Regents earlier in his career from 1981 – 1991.

“Dr. Sanchez has deep roots in the Las Vegas community and his strong commitment to Highlands University is obvious,” said Highlands University President Sam Minner. “I think he will be a terrific regent and help us move forward in a positive way.”

Sanchez, who was born and raised in Las Vegas, New Mexico, said he has a deep love for his hometown.

“I have always been an active contributor to my community. I continue to serve Las Vegas as a board member for the Las Vegas San Miguel Chamber of Commerce. I also served recently on the board for the Las Vegas Community Foundation. I feel like I can work well with the business community in Las Vegas as a Highlands regent and make a difference,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez is a Highlands University alumnus, earning his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry in 1973.

“The faculty at Highlands was excellent and taught me that nothing was impossible. They encouraged me to dream big. Biology professor Dr. Lora Shields and chemistry professor Dr. Robert Amai both took an interest in me and were compassionate and life-changing mentors. Dr. Sigfredo Maestas, a math professor who went on to be Highlands’ president, encouraged me to go to dental school in Washington, D.C.,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez went to dental school at Howard University in Washington, D.C., graduating in 1977. Since 1977, Sanchez worked in his own thriving dental practice, Sanchez Dental, in Las Vegas. He retired in 2010.

Sanchez was active in numerous professional organizations for dentists from 1978 – 2010, such as the American Dental Association and the New Mexico Dental Society.

“What I liked most about my dental practice was helping people in need and the social interaction. I enjoyed seeing my young No Cavity Club patients grow up and become grandparents,”  Sanchez said.

Sanchez can trace his Sanchez family name back to the 1600s in the Española Valley of New Mexico.

In 1828, his great-great grandfather moved to Rociada, New Mexico, where Sanchez lives now. Rociada is northwest of Las Vegas.

“I’m proud of my Hispanic heritage and where I come from. I’m grateful to my parents and grandparents for raising me with compassion and respect for others. I believe as humans we are all equal,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez takes Leveo Sanchez’ place on the Highlands Board of Regents. The two are not related. Leveo Sanchez served on the Board of Regents since 2008, with his term ending Dec. 31, 2020.

“I have worked with dozens, maybe hundreds, of board members in my career,” Minner said. “But I have never had the good fortune to work for and with someone like Leveo Sanchez. He is a great inspiration to me and so many others. I call Leveo the Lion of NMHU. He is always fighting not for himself, not for what is easy or expedient, not for any personal benefit at all, but for our beloved Highlands, the students we serve, and our noble and beautiful mission. He has done incredible things for Highlands and, I might add, all of humankind.”