President Angela Franklin

About President Franklin

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.

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.

President Angela L. Walker Franklin


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 fundraising 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 is also President-elect of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and currently serves as the current Chair of the Health Cabinet of the United Way of Central Iowa. In addition, Dr. Franklin is a former board member of the nationally recognized Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) and past 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: 2017 American Psychological Association Training Advisory Committee Special Award, 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.

DMU, community celebrate the power of education at Glanton Dinner

Nearly 400 central Iowa community members came together Oct. 16 to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion at Des Moines University’s 16th annual Glanton Dinner. The event generates financial support for the University’s Glanton Fund, which was established in …

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Imagining a university for the future

Des Moines University is seizing a rare opportunity: creating a brand new medical and health sciences campus on a blank slate of central Iowa farmland. FROM PARKING PROPOSAL TO BOLD ADVENTURE What began in December 2018 as a modest proposal …

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Kudos for DMU Day at the Iowa State Fair

Rain fell on the Iowa State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 11, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of fair-goers for DMU Day at the event. They enjoyed the 94 osteopathic manual medicine and physical therapy demonstrations performed by 49 student …

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DMU President Franklin among leaders featured in new book

Early in her 20-plus-year career in higher education, Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., developed a reputation as “the VOR – the voice of reason” – who was the go-to person for getting things done. The more her career evolved, though, …

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DMU supports HF 532

Each year Des Moines University establishes a legislative agenda. These are the issues we are committed to focusing on for the upcoming legislative session, developed with input from the DMU Executive Leadership Team. This year one of our priorities identified …

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DMU announces $25 million capital campaign

Des Moines University, a graduate medical and health sciences university, on Dec. 8 announced it has begun the public phase of the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history with a goal to raise $25 million or more. To date, …

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DMU, community celebrate Glanton Fund’s 15th anniversary

Fifteen years ago, a small group of community members met to discuss how they could open opportunities and foster diversity at Des Moines University. They established a fund at DMU that would generate scholarships for minority students under-represented in health …

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Seven years’ strong

In March, Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., marked her seventh year as DMU’s 15th president and has only stepped up the cadence. Here, she reflects on her tenure and continuing priorities for the University. Raised in McCormick, SC, inthe segregated …

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We have to start somewhere on addressing mental illness. DMU did.

We have to start somewhere on addressing mental illness. DMU did. The dire lack of access to mental health care represents a moral, medical and financial catastrophe worldwide. To tackle this enormous crisis, DMU decided to start somewhere: It is …

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DMU announces 2018 Glanton honorees, presenting sponsor

When Des Moines University hosts its 15th annual Glanton Dinner on Oct. 25, it also will honor two individuals whose generosity and service are widely evident in Iowa and far beyond: John and Mary Pappajohn. Presented this year by Mercy …

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DMU, NAMI partner to educate students on mental illness

This spring, DMU became the nation’s first medical school to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s leading advocacy group for mental illness, to offer NAMI’s provider education program to osteopathic medical students. That led to an …

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DMU: proud to partner in improving mental health care

Des Moines University is inspired and grateful to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Mid-Iowa Health Foundation to meet a growing need for compassionate, accessible mental health care in the state. Today, that effort advanced …

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Changing of the Guard

I have  come to have considerable respect for an organization called the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) which is the premier organization centered on governance in higher education. AGB provides leadership and counsel to member boards, chief executives, and others …

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The Unlikely Choice May Be Chosen

Today I have been reflecting on the challenges of leadership and just how difficult it can be when politics enter into those decisions. In my book, “The Unconventional Journey..the Unlikely Choice “, I described my aspirations for leadership in higher …

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The DMU Triangle

One very important role for any college/university president is fund raising. There are always needs and never enough funding to accomplish all that we want to do for our organizations. At Des Moines University (DMU), we have a carefully articulated …

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DMU president receives special APA award

As a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Emory University, Angela Walker Franklin was selected for the Minority Fellowship Program of the American Psychological Association (APA), a comprehensive training, mentoring and career development program that helps promising students achieve lasting …

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Another record breaking year for the Employee Campaign

When Des Moines University’s faculty and staff are asked to give back, they continuously dig deeper each year during the Employee Campaign. Throughout the two-week campaign, employees share their pride in the University and its efforts to prepare tomorrow’s health care workforce. This …

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US Presidential Executive Order on Immigration Travel

Dear DMU Campus Community, Transitions in leadership are always filled with emotion on all sides. As decisions are made it is important that we all remain steadfast in the basic principles that define this university. However, given the response to …

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Coming together for a day of unity

More than 200 Des Moines University students, faculty and staff gathered on campus today to stand together in support of our first ever DMU Day of Unity. Students decided to coordinate a Day of Unity in light of an increasingly …

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Watch Your Back

My husband, Thaddeus, and I are traveling and as we typically do….if we have time, we will grab local transit to go explore an area. We were waiting for a trolley and he sits down on the bench to wait. …

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DMU President Franklin to speak at leadership conference

According to its website, Iowa Women Lead Change (IWLC) is the state’s premier leadership organization for women, offering comprehensive leadership resources including events featuring prominent speakers, frequent networking opportunities, and other important services to advance women’s leadership in all aspects …

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Clear Communications

I am a strong proponent of clear, authentic communications. One of the great challenges of leadership, however, is making sure messages are conveyed and received clearly. Unfortunately, there is a tendency sometimes for communications to be misconstrued and misinterpreted. So …

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Des Moines University gains a Glanton Presenting Sponsor in Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Des Moines University announced today that Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield will be the Presenting Sponsor of DMU’s 2016 Glanton Dinner. Wellmark is a mutual insurance company based in Des Moines that provides health coverage to more than two million …

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Heating up on the course

Hot, hot, hot! It was a sweltering day but not a single person could complain about having to lace up some golf shoes and spend the day out on the course. On June 10, over 40 alumni, students and friends …

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Advocating for a healthier city and university

If you’re going to Washington to secure the support of elected officials, there’s strength in numbers with a single voice. That’s the strategy behind the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s annual D.C. fly-in. Throughout the three-day visit, nearly 200 local leaders …

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DMU joins HuffPo “Sleep Revolution”

Sleep deprivation is something of a badge of courage for medical students, residents and providers who are expected to study and work around the clock. But pulling an all-nighter has health and wellness hazards, as a recent event at Des Moines …

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Faith, Hope, and Charity

Those who are old enough would remember the disco band from the 70 s called “Faith Hope and Charity.” Their only hit that I can remember was entitled “To Each His Own” which described how we should not try to …

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Stop, Rock, and Rejuvenate!

The phrase “stop drop and roll” refers to a procedure taught by the fire department to individuals so that they can survive a fire and avoid burns. It is a protective maneuver which has saved lives. Perhaps an extreme parallel …

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DMU receives highest state honor for volunteerism

Des Moines University was inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame on April 13 as part of National Volunteer Week celebration activities across the country. Governor Terry Branstad presented the award to DMU President Angela L. Walker Franklin in recognition of …

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Friends Are Like Stars!

The word friendship is used liberally to describe many of our relationships with those we have encountered and interacted with from our early days in elementary school to high school, through college, into adulthood. We all typically have friends at …

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Publications

An Unconventional Journey: An Unlikely Choice
by Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D.

This is a story of perseverance and awakening.

Angela Walker Franklin's journey evolved from self-doubt and trepidation into a purpose-driven life that led her to a college presidency in a most unlikely place. The lessons learned along the way have defined her current approach to leadership and should be inspirational to others who are trying to chart their own path. Order your copy today.

Now is The Time; Des Moines is the Place: A History of Des Moines University
by Lee Anderson, PH. D.; Kathy Penningroth

Des Moines University has survived against the odds for more than 100 years and successfully built a legacy of excellence in health sciences education.

Throughout those years, there are stories of virtue, vision and hope, as well as episodes of questioned leadership, meager resources and frayed credibility. DMUs history is intertwined with the history of osteopathic medicine and the development of the health care industry in the United States.

This book covers the years 1898 to 2003, illustrating in each chapter how effective leaders can advance an institution and how committed faculty, loyal students and a generous community can defy the odds against success. Order your copy today.

Speaking Engagements

President Franklin speaks regularly to both the DMU campus and Des Moines communities and organizations on topics ranging from leadership to current health care issues.

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