University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., announced during a news conference Jan. 10 that he is stepping down to return to medicine full time after a five-year tenure at The University of Texas System.
“I am embarking on a new and exciting adventure and that is that I’ve accepted the position as head of pediatric transplant surgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio beginning upon the appointment of my successor by Chairman Paul Foster and the Board of Regents,” Chancellor Cigarroa said.
“The timing made a lot of sense to me because I had an opportunity to reflect upon many of the successes that we have accomplished over the past five years, and I realized that in large part I completed nearly all of the goals I set out to complete in 2009,” he said.
During his tenure, Chancellor Cigarroa established the Framework for Advancing Excellence, an action plan to advance the UT System’s 15 academic and health institutions. In only two years, 95 percent of the Framework has been fully implemented. The plan has received national acclaim, with Chancellor Cigarroa visiting the White House twice to share and discuss his vision with policy leaders from around the country.
Cigarroa was also instrumental in the effort to establish a new University of Texas institution and medical school in South Texas—The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which is scheduled to enroll its first class in the fall of 2015. Simultaneously, his leadership was key in creating the Dell School of Medicine at UT Austin – fulfilling a long-held dream of integrating a medical school with UT’s flagship academic university.
“It’s difficult to imagine trying to replace Francisco Cigarroa,” said UT System Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster. “Indeed, in my opinion, he can’t be replaced. It is because of his leadership that we are the first system in anyone’s memory to be establishing not one but two medical schools simultaneously. It is because of him that the people of South Texas will benefit from the Permanent University Fund and can look forward to all the advantages that an emerging research university and medical school will bring to their great region.”
“It would take most people an entire career to accomplish what Chancellor Cigarroa has accomplished in five short years, and he did it at a time when higher education has been at the center of a national debate. Through uncertain times, Chancellor Cigarroa has led with dignity, integrity, and honor,” Foster said.