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New Mexico State University Chief Science Officer Phillip DeLeon Named CU Denver’s AVC of Research

March 29, 2022

Dear colleagues,

It’s my distinct pleasure to share with you that, after an extensive national search, we have identified the most qualified person to lead our research enterprise and help us achieve a key Strategic Plan goal to be internationally known for our research. Dr. Phillip DeLeon, a two-time CU Boulder alum and the current associate vice president for research and chief science officer at New Mexico State University (NMSU), will be our new associate vice chancellor for research. Phillip officially starts on Aug. 1. He will report to me and collaborate closely with Dr. Thomas Flaig, vice chancellor for research for CU Denver |CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Phillip has faculty affiliation in the electrical engineering unit of the College of Engineering, Design and Computing.

Phillip DeLeon

A respected electrical engineer, Phillip brings more than 26 years of experience as a teacher, researcher, and administrator from NMSU. While serving in his current role, he has actively participated in the seeding, management, and oversight of three consecutive years of growth in annual research expenditures (most recently over $110 million), strong growth in proposal submissions, and a general increase in grants and contracts awarded. That’s exactly the kind ofprogress we want at CU Denver, and I am confident that Phillip, working closely with faculty, will help us get there.

Phillip has deep experience as a hands-on researcher and as an administrator in this area who achieves results. He was awarded the John and Tome Nakayama Professorship in Engineering for Teaching Excellence and, since 2015, has held the Paul W. and Valerie Klipsch Distinguished Professorship in Engineering. Over his career, he has developed a strong research program leading to nearly $8 million in funding and over 80 publications. During his interviews at CU Denver, Phillip spoke about his strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and how, as a Mexican-American, he has personally benefitted from diversity and minority programs and received considerable support to be a first-generation science and engineering undergraduate student. Phillip believes our recent status as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and our efforts to become an emerging Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution will provide the campus many benefits, including expanded grant opportunities for research.

I have many people to thank for leading us to this moment. First, the search committee, chaired by Professors Laura Argys (Economics) and Christopher Yakacki (Mechanical Engineering), for their incredible work supported by the WittKieffer search firm to find us four very well-qualified finalists culminating in the offer to Phillip. Thank you, also, to all the students, faculty, staff, and administrators who participated in the finalist open forums and conversations last month. Your engagement with and feedback on the candidates were critical parts of this search and for that I am very grateful. Finally, I want to thank College of Engineering, Design and Computing Dean, Marty Dunn, for doing double duty this academic year while taking on the interim assignment as chief research officer. Marty will ensure a smooth leadership transition of the research office and focus future efforts on his dean role and the exciting construction of our new engineering building as an anchor to the new open innovation district.

The future is bright for research at CU Denver, and I am appreciative of everything we will do, together, to build our enterprise and become internationally known for the positive impact our research has on society.


Constancio K. Nakuma, PhD
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs