Two New Highlands University Regents Sworn In
Two new regents for New Mexico Highlands University were sworn in at the Board of Regents meeting March 30.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez appointed Frank Marchi to the board of regents along with student regent Caitlin Syner.
“I’m very pleased with Governor Martinez’s appointments as both Marchi and Syner have the leadership skills and commitment to Highlands that will move the university forward,” said Highlands University President Jim Fries.
Marchi has had a distinguished career as an insurance executive for Manuel Lujan Insurance, Inc. in Albuquerque, where he is currently a business consultant. Prior to that, he was chief operating officer, president of the board of directors, and senior vice president for the insurance agency.
Marchi started working at the Manuel Lujan Insurance, Inc. after graduating from Highlands University in 1967 with a business degree. His grandfather, Manuel Lujan, Sr., established the insurance agency in 1926 and it is now the largest independently-owned insurance agency in the state.
A lifelong business leader, Marchi was a founding member of the Valencia County Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Fe Hispano Chamber of Commerce, and the Taos County Hispano Chamber of Commerce.
His other business experience includes being a founder and investor for the Bank of Belen in 1992, now named MyBank. In 1997, Marchi was also a founder and investor for Bank 1st in Albuquerque, and was on its board of directors.
Marchi has a long history of serving Highlands. He was a founding member of the Highlands University Alumni Association and served on the Highlands University Foundation Board of Directors for more than 20 years. He is currently the foundation board’s first vice president.
In 1996, Marchi was named a distinguished alumnus for Highlands.
“I really believe in the mission of Highlands University. It’s been a leading educational institution in Northern New Mexico for the last 118 years,” Marchi said. “I’ve always been an advocate for Highlands and the students it serves. My motivation for being a regent is to help Highlands continue to provide opportunities for current and future generations to help change lives for the better.”
Marchi said he thinks his business experience will be helpful as a regent along with his knowledge of the university and its history.
“Over the years, as a foundation board member I’ve worked with five Highlands University presidents,” Marchi said.
Syner will graduate from Highlands in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in sociology. The 22-year-old from Las Cruces, N.M. will enter the clinical psychology graduate program at Highlands fall semester 2011.
During her tenure at Highlands, Syner has worked as a new student orientation leader and peer adviser for the Office of Academic Support. She said this work has given her helpful insight into Highlands University students.
In addition, she understands what it’s like to be a scholar athlete as she came to Highlands University on a soccer scholarship and played as a Cowgirl mid-fielder.
“I think I can be a voice for the students on campus, representing their concerns as well as the great things that are evolving at Highlands,” Syner said. “There are only five votes on the board of regents and I’m one of them. It’s truly an honor, and a big responsibility, to be named as a student regent. It will be challenging but rewarding to be that go-to person for the students.”
Syner has volunteered in Las Vegas as a big sister for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and for Autism Speaks, a non-profit advocacy agency.