DMU President and CEO Honored by Bankers Trust 

Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., president and CEO of Des Moines University, was honored Feb. 26, 2024, as a “Community Difference Maker” by Bankers Trust at its East Branch’s annual Black History Month celebration. A distinguished academic and administrative leader in higher education for nearly four decades, Franklin became DMU’s 15th president in 2011. She is shown above, center, with Donald Coffin, Bankers Trust CEO and president, and Emily Abbas, executive vice president and chief consumer banking and marketing officer.

“Today we have the honor of recognizing Dr. Angela L. Walker Franklin, president and CEO of Des Moines University, for her vast community involvement efforts, which make a significant impact not only in Central Iowa but across the country,” said Emily Abbas, chief consumer banking and marketing officer at Bankers Trust. 

Under Franklin’s leadership, in 2018, DMU launched the $50 million Purple & Proud Campaign, the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history. Given the generous donor response, in 2020, she and the DMU Board doubled the goal. In January 2024, the university announced the campaign had exceeded $51 million. 

In 2023, DMU fulfilled Franklin’s bold plan to move to a new 88-acre campus with state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Not even a worldwide pandemic delayed the move, which coincided with DMU’s 125th anniversary. 

Also during Franklin’s tenure, the university established an office of multicultural affairs to foster the cultural competency of students and employees. DMU has since incorporated diversity, equity and inclusion in curricula, clinical experiences and programming; established a Multicultural Affairs Student Advisory Council and a Faculty and Staff Diversity Council to enhance recruitment of under-represented students and faculty; and joined the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. DMU annually sponsors local DEI events including the West Des Moines Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.  

In addition, Franklin led efforts to partner with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to offer its provider training program to osteopathic medical students, enhancing care for patients with mental illness, another form of “difference.” DMU also opened a behavioral health clinic in the DMU Clinic in 2021 to provide much-needed services. 

Franklin’s community service includes nearly 12 years on the Bankers Trust Board of Directors as well as service on the boards of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, UnityPoint Health, the Alliance of Academic Health Centers of the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Assembly of Presidents of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. 

Her many honors include the Dale S. Dodson Award from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, induction into the Iowa Business Hall of Fame, the Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award from the Iowa Department of Human Rights and the African American History Maker Award from the African American Museum of Iowa. 

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