AUSTIN – University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
The Commission, made up of civic and education leaders from across the country, is charged with providing input and advice on the development, implementation and coordination of education policy and programs that impact the Hispanic community.
President Obama established the commission in 2010 as part of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, which was launched in 1990 by then-President George H.W. Bush. The initiative aims to expand educational opportunities and improve education outcomes for the Hispanic community.
White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics director Juan Sepúlveda said the Commission will chart ways to increase Hispanic educational attainment, which is important for the country’s economy.
“The Commission will identify ways to strengthen our country. Hispanic students have graduated at lower rates than the rest of the population for years, making America’s progress impossible if they continue to lag behind,” said Sepúlveda. “Strengthening and improving educational excellence in this community isn’t just a Hispanic problem. It’s a challenge for our entire country.”
“I am honored President Obama has appointed me to serve on this important panel as it works to improve the quality of the educational experience for millions of American students,” Cigarroa said. “The U.S. Hispanic population is rising quickly, and it is imperative that its students are sufficiently trained to keep America’s workforce vibrant. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners as we address issues and craft policies that benefit education in America.”
UT San Antonio President Ricardo Romo was also appointed by President Obama to serve on the commission.
Other individuals appointed to the commission include Eduardo J. Padrón (chair) and César Conde of Florida; Sylvia Acevedo and JoAnn Gama of Texas; Darline P. Robles and Patricia Gándara of California; Alicia Abella and Marta Tienda of New Jersey.; Luis R. Fraga of Washington; Maria Neira and Lisette Nieves of New York.; Daniel Cardinali of Virginia; Manny Sanchez of Illinois; and Alfredo J. Artiles of Arizona.
A nationally renowned pediatric and transplant surgeon, Dr. Cigarroa served as president of the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio from 2000 until his appointment as chancellor.
Dr. Cigarroa, a native of Laredo, earned a bachelor's degree from Yale and received his medical degree from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. During his 12 years of postgraduate training, Dr. Cigarroa was chief resident at Harvard's teaching hospital, Massachusetts General in Boston, and completed a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
A member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, Dr. Cigarroa is a Fellow of the American College of Surgery and a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and has received a certificate in pediatric surgery from the American Board of Surgery. He serves as an Alumni Fellow to The Yale Corporation, the university's governing board and was recently elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Class of 2011, one of the nation's leading honorary societies and centers for policy research.
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $12.8 billion (FY 2011) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 211,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 68,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.