Cabinet Secretary

Kate O’Neill, Ph.D., is a proven leader and innovator in New Mexico higher education, serving as chief executive officer of the University of New Mexico at Taos for 12 years, beginning in 2006, and as special assistant to the chief executive since her retirement in 2016. In her time there, Dr. O’Neill developed a nationally accredited nursing program, and over ten years under her leadership, the campus’ budget grew by 250 percent. She began at the campus as adjunct faculty in 1994 and worked her way up, serving as an associate professor, department chair of psychology and academy head for professions and liberal arts.

Prior to that, Dr. O’Neill served as executive director of Wellspring Taos, consulting with higher education and health care constituents, and also as clinical director of Taos’ Community Against Violence, providing counseling and supervision. Named the 2017 Citizen of the Year by the The Taos News, Dr. O’Neill has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Tufts University as well as a master’s and doctorate degree in higher education and education administration from Harvard University.

When she is not advocating and working for the students of our state, Dr. O’Neill enjoys spending time outdoors fly-fishing and hiking with her English Shepherd, Zöe. Like many New Mexicans, Dr. O’Neill is also very inspired and intrigued by our state’s rich history and culture. You can usually catch Dr. O’Neill reading one of her favorite books or poems with a Chai Tea in hand.