About President Franklin

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.

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 in December 2018, launched Purple and Proud, a $25 million dollar fund raising campaign which was surpassed a year later. With the transformative vision to build an entirely new campus on 88 acres of land purchased in West Des Moines, the campaign continues with fundraising efforts focused on the new campus. Dr. Franklin is leading the effort to plan and design the new campus which is anticipated to open in summer 2023 coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the university.

Dr. Franklin is actively involved in the Des Moines Community, serving on the boards of Bankers Trust, The Greater Des Moines Partnership and The Harkin National Advisory Council. She is also Chair of the Assembly of Presidents of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) and was recently asked to serve on the AACOM Adaptive Work Group Addressing Racism in Healthcare and the George Washington Carver Statuary Hall Project. In addition, Dr. Franklin is a former board member of the nationally recognized Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), United Way of Central Iowa, and the Science Center of Iowa. Former chair roles held by Dr. Franklin include chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership Workforce Development/Education Board, chair of the United Way Health Cabinet, chair of the American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” movement, chair for the 2015 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, as well as chair of the 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. Dr. Franklin has been featured in several local and national publications and speaks locally and around the country on the topics of women leaders, transformative leadership, and building a culturally competent and diverse workforce.

Not even a pandemic can deter DMU’s 2021 graduates

After the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on their final year as DMU students, members of the Class of 2021 had plenty to celebrate during Commencement activities May 26-28. While those events had to occur completely online last year, this year …

Not even a pandemic can deter DMU’s 2021 graduates Read More

A Purpose-Driven Decade

On March 1, 2021, Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., marked her 10-year anniversary as DMU’s 15th president and CEO. The decade brought some difficult decisions and needed changes, an unexpected pandemic, a successful fundraising campaign and the biggest development in …

A Purpose-Driven Decade Read More

Des Moines University honors those who give the ultimate gift

The study of the human body is essential in the study of medicine. On May 21, 2021, Des Moines University honored 36 individuals, 9 of them honored veterans, who generously donated their bodies to DMU’s Body Donor Program to further …

Des Moines University honors those who give the ultimate gift Read More

“Lead bold and thrilling lives to the fullest,” President Franklin advises Furman graduates

As an elementary school student, Angela L. Walker Franklin attended summer band camps held on the campus of Furman University. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology, magna cum laude, at Furman and, as a graduate, served …

“Lead bold and thrilling lives to the fullest,” President Franklin advises Furman graduates Read More

COM grad’s legacy will help shape DMU’s future

The DMU community was saddened by the death of Nicholas Conway, D.O.’61, in late April, but his legacy will endure through his many years of patient care, the family and friends he treasured and the lasting impact his generous support …

COM grad’s legacy will help shape DMU’s future Read More

Donors make One Day for DMU a great success

A record number of donors, 295, participated in Des Moines University’s One Day for DMU fundraising event, contributing a total of $178,104 from noon to noon April 28-29. Those who participated supported 23 different funds, including the DMU Fund, which …

Donors make One Day for DMU a great success Read More

DMU announces capital campaign extension to new $50 million goal

Des Moines University, a graduate medical and health sciences university, today announced it is extending its capital campaign from the original goal of $25 million to $50 million, making it the largest fundraising campaign in the University’s history. The campaign, …

DMU announces capital campaign extension to new $50 million goal Read More

An extra layer of protection

This fall, in a letter to all students, DMU President Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., welcomed new students and those returning (either on campus, or in a clinical setting). She stated, “Beginning this new academic year has been uniquely challenging …

An extra layer of protection Read More

Glanton 2020: an Event for Change

At DMU’s 17th annual Glanton fundraising event on Oct. 8, President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., said it looked “different” from previous years, and not just because it was held virtually. “This year, we possess an even greater sense …

Glanton 2020: an Event for Change Read More

Advancing a vision and moving a lot of dirt

The sweet smell of hay wafted on the breeze and birdsong filled the air on a recent partly cloudy morning in West Des Moines. On an 88-acre site that was mostly spent cornfields, a pheasant was startled into flight by …

Advancing a vision and moving a lot of dirt Read More

DMU stands in solidarity with White Coats for Black Lives

More than 250 Des Moines University students, faculty and staff – wearing masks and practicing physical distancing – gathered on campus on Friday to demonstrate solidarity in accepting the shared responsibility of protecting people of all backgrounds by addressing racism …

DMU stands in solidarity with White Coats for Black Lives Read More

DMU is nation’s first medical school to require mental health course

In 2018, Des Moines University became the nation’s first medical school to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), the nation’s leading advocacy group for mental illness, to offer its provider education program to third-year osteopathic medical students. All medical schools train …

DMU is nation’s first medical school to require mental health course Read More

DMU donors top $25 million Purple & Proud Campaign goal

On Dec. 8, 2018, DMU launched the public phase of “Purple & Proud – the Campaign for Des Moines University,” a $25 million fundraising effort and the largest such endeavor in the University’s history. It is set to conclude in …

DMU donors top $25 million Purple & Proud Campaign goal Read More

DMU: driven by hunger

Even though America is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, millions of adults and children face hunger and food insecurity every day. According to USDA’s Household Food Insecurity in the United States in 2018 report, more than 37 …

DMU: driven by hunger Read More

DMU selected physical therapy and sports performance partner for MidAmerican Energy RecPlex

The City of West Des Moines and Des Moines University (DMU) announced a partnership today that makes DMU Clinic Physical Therapy the exclusive provider of physical therapy and athletic training services for the MidAmerican Energy Company RecPlex currently under construction …

DMU selected physical therapy and sports performance partner for MidAmerican Energy RecPlex Read More

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 …

DMU, community celebrate the power of education at Glanton Dinner Read More

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 …

Imagining a university for the future Read More

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 …

Kudos for DMU Day at the Iowa State Fair Read More

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, …

DMU President Franklin among leaders featured in new book Read More

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 …

DMU supports HF 532 Read More

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, …

DMU announces $25 million capital campaign Read More

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 …

DMU, community celebrate Glanton Fund’s 15th anniversary Read More

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 …

Seven years’ strong Read More

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 …

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

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 …

DMU announces 2018 Glanton honorees, presenting sponsor Read More

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 …

DMU, NAMI partner to educate students on mental illness Read More

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 …

DMU: proud to partner in improving mental health care Read More

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 …

Changing of the Guard Read More

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 …

The Unlikely Choice May Be Chosen Read More

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 …

The DMU Triangle Read More

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.

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.

2021 Events

January 15, 2021
Panelist: What Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his teachings mean to me. MLK Special Virtual Event. West Des Moines Chamber

January 27, 2021
Panelist: Importance of social-emotional development in the health and development of kids and the role the healthcare system and leaders in our community can play in fostering these skills and supports for children and families. Virtual Town Hall with Sesame Street Communities. Iowa Alliance for Healthy Kids

February 10, 2021
Speaker: Then. Now. When. What’s being done - Healthcare. “Obligation of health sciences universities in training future health professionals.” 1619 Project Leadership Institute Program. Held Virtually.

February 22, 2021
Interview: Discuss Cares Act Funding for future telehealth services at new DMU West Des Moines campus. WHO Radio/iHeart Media. 2141 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312

March 12, 2021
Speaker: “DMU’s Bold Vision for the Future.” Des Moines AM Rotary Virtual Meeting. Held via Zoom.

2020
2019
2018
Scroll to Top