UT Pan American Presidential Search Committee Named

AUSTIN – The appointment of members of a presidential search advisory committee to advise The University of Texas System Board of Regents on the selection of a president for UT Pan American was announced today (Feb. 16) by Regents’ Chairman H. Scott Caven, Jr.

The committee will make recommendations on possible successors to former President Blandina Cárdenas, who stepped down Jan. 30 as the institution’s president. The UT System appointed Charles A. Sorber as interim president last month. Sorber assumes the interim presidency today (Feb. 16).

The advisory committee will be asked to present the names of no more than 10 candidates – unranked – to the board, which will make the final decision.

“UT Pan American is a beacon for higher education opportunity in the Rio Grande Valley and plays a crucial role in the economic development of that region and in the lives of so many South Texans, which makes the selection of a new leader for that institution a top priority for the Board of Regents,” Caven said. “The people who have agreed to serve on this search committee are well qualified for the task – bringing a broad perspective, experience and sound judgment to this important selection process. The Board is grateful for their service and looks forward to receiving their recommendations.”

Committee members were selected in accordance with the Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations, which includes a provision for representation on such committees by various constituencies of the institution. 

David B. Prior, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the UT System, will chair the search committee.

Representing the Board of Regents on the committee will be Regent Paul Foster of El Paso and Regent Janiece Longoria of Houston. 

Representing presidents of other UT System institutions are Juliet Garcia, Ph.D., president of UT Brownsville, and Rodney H. Mabry, Ph.D., president of UT Tyler.

Representing the campus deans’ council will be Bruce Reed, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services.

Danika M. Brown, Ph.D., chair of the Faculty Senate and assistant professor in the Department of English; Arturo Fuentes, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Jerry Polinard, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Political Science, will serve on the committee as faculty representatives.

Representing the UT Pan American staff is Mary Lou Cano, an administrative assistant in the university advancement division.

John-Robert Iruegas, a junior psychology major, will represent the student body on the committee.

Roland Arriola, Ph.D., will serve on the committee by virtue of his position as president of UT Pan American’s alumni organization. 

The external community representatives are: 

  • Marla Guerra, Ph.D., superintendent, South Texas Independent School District
  • R. David Guerra, president, International Bank of Commerce
  • Nat Lopez, president, Harlingen Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, former regent and chairman, Pan American University
  • Margaret McAllen, former regent, Pan American University 
  • Jaime Ramon, chairman, University Foundation and partner, K&L Gates
  • Anne Shepard, Harlingen Area Chamber of Commerce

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, an executive search firm, is assisting the UT System in the national search and advertisements for the position will be placed in various publications so the committee can carry out its search as expeditiously as possible.