Angela L. Walker Franklin, a native of McCormick, South Carolina, is a Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate of Furman University. A licensed clinical psychologist, she completed her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Emory University, followed by a year-long clinical internship at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Franklin, who became Des Moines University’s 15th president in the spring of 2011, has worked in higher education for more than 25 years. Previously, she was executive vice president and provost at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, where she oversaw academic and administrative departments. She held a professorship in Meharry’s department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
Prior to her role at Meharry, Dr. Franklin held several positions at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, including vice dean, associate vice president for academic and student affairs, associate dean for student affairs, director of counseling services and assistant professor of psychiatry.
A former American Council on Education Fellow (2001-02), Dr. Franklin is also a 2004 protégé of the Millennium Leadership Institute which is sponsored by the Association of State Colleges and Universities in preparing the next generation of leaders in higher education. She also participated in the 2008 Prospective President’s Workshop of the United Methodist Church affiliated Schools.
Since becoming the 15th President of Des Moines University, Dr. Franklin has published the university history entitled, “Now is the Time, Des Moines is the Place” which chronicles a 100+ year history of training health care professionals. She has established institutional goals and priorities for the future and recently launched a feasibility study for future fund raising campaigns.
Dr. Franklin has become actively involved in the Des Moines Community, now serving on the boards of the Science Center of Iowa, Bankers Trust, The Greater Des Moines Partnership, The Harkin National Advisory Council, and The United Way of Central Iowa. She also serves as a board member of the nationally recognized Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC). In addition, she is the current Chair of the Health Cabinet of the United Way of Central Iowa, and Chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership Workforce Development/Education Board.
In January 2013, Dr. Franklin was named chair of the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” movement in Des Moines and also served as the 2014 chair. She chaired the 2015 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, as well as the 2015 Greater Des Moines Partnership Community Health Needs Assessment Mental Health Workgroup.
Awards she has received include: 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the 2015 Mary McLeod Bethune Award (Educator of the Year) from the Iowa Juneteenth Observance Committee, the 2014 Women of Influence Award from the Des Moines Business Record, the 2014 Inspire Award from Dress for Success, and the 2013 African American History Maker Award from the African American Museum of Iowa.
Dr. Franklin is an inspirational leader and author of her 2014 published memoir, “An Unconventional Journey… An Unlikely Choice,” which chronicles her journey to the college presidency and lessons learned in leadership. She speaks locally and around the country on the topics of women leaders, principles of leadership, and building a culturally competent and diverse workforce.