Panel Named to Explore Possible Merger of UTSA, UT Health Science Center – San Antonio

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (Oct. 12) named a special advisory group to conduct a feasibility study of a possible merger between the University of Texas at San Antonio and the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.

“The UT System is all about maximizing efficiencies and doing what is in the best interest of our institutions, which makes this explorative process a worthy effort,” Regents’ Chairman James R. Huffines said. “Historically, these two institutions have forged highly successful collaborations with one another, but the question is whether a merger would be mutually beneficial to both campuses or if they would be better off operating as individual institutions. We believe this panel of highly qualified higher education and health experts – many of whom are members of the prestigious National Academies – will be able to provide valuable counsel on this matter.”

The panel – made up of seven academic and health institution experts – was charged with consulting with students, faculty and administrators from both institutions as well as community leaders with regard to the proposed operations changes; identifying and evaluating potential financial and programmatic benefits and challenges related to a merger; and evaluating and making recommendations concerning legal, administrative and/or practical problems with regard to a merger.

Members of the panel are:

  • Dr. Peter T. Flawn, president emeritus, The University of Texas at Austin, former UTSA president, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, who will serve as chairman;
  • Dr. Jordan J. Cohen, former president, Association of American Medical Colleges, and member of the Institute of Medicine;
  • Dr. Haile T. DeBas, executive director of the University of California-San Francisco Global Health Sciences, and member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences;
  • Dr. Patricia K. Donahoe, director, Pediatric Surgical Research Laboratories, Massachusetts General Hospital and Marshall K. Bartlett Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, and member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences;
  • Robert W. Shepard, chairman of the Board Shepard Walton King Insurance Group and former chairman, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board;
  • Dr. Graham B. Spanier, president, The Pennsylvania State University, and a former chairman of the American Association of Universities; and
  • Dr. Richard A. Tapia, Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering, Rice University, and member of the National Academy of Engineering.

A report from the panel is expected to be made to the Board of Regents no later than June 1, 2010.

The prospect of merging the two institutions was first explored in 2002, and following an analysis by a higher education consultant, the Board of Regents concluded that such a merger wasn’t in the best interests of the institutions at that time.

About The University of Texas System
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 $11.9 billion (FY 2010) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 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 healthcare professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and the second largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System.  As a multicultural institution of access and excellence, UTSA aims to be a premier public research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment. UTSA serves more than 29,100 students in 64 bachelor’s, 48 master’s and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School.  Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.  More information online at

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is one of the leading research institutions in Texas and one of the major health sciences universities in the world. With an operating budget of $753.4 million, the Health Science Center is the chief catalyst for the $16.3 billion biosciences and health care sector in San Antonio's economy. The Health Science Center has had an estimated $37 billion impact on the region since inception and has expanded to six campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. More than 26,750 graduates (physicians, dentists, nurses, scientists and other health professionals) serve in their fields, including many in Texas. Health Science Center faculty are international leaders in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, aging, stroke prevention, kidney disease, orthopaedics, research imaging, transplant surgery, psychiatry and clinical neurosciences, pain management, genetics, nursing, dentistry and many other fields. For more information, visit