Robert S. Nelsen Named Finalist for UT Pan American Presidency

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (Oct. 12) named Robert S. Nelsen as the sole finalist for the presidency of The University of Texas – Pan American.

The board announced Nelsen, currently the associate vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University -- Corpus Christi, after considering recommendations of an advisory committee that reviewed nominations and applications for the position.

The Board voted unanimously during a meeting in which several candidates were interviewed for the position.  The candidates recently met with constituent groups at the university as part of a series of campus visits.

Before becoming associate vice president at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Nelsen served as associate provost and vice provost at The University of Texas at Dallas. He has held numerous faculty appointments in literature at UT Dallas and at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Nelsen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah and his Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

"The search advisory committee worked diligently to find these exceptional candidates, all of whom possess impressive credentials and experience in administration at leading universities," said Regent Janiece Longoria. "We are confident Dr. Nelsen has the mix of skills that will make him the right fit to push UT Pan American to the next level of excellence.”

Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment.

 “UT Pan American has a very important role to play in the South Texas region and it deserves leadership that can make the most of its potential.  I believe Dr. Nelsen has the leadership abilities and strong academic record to help move the institution to new heights," UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said.

Nelsen will succeed Dr. Blandina Cárdenas, who stepped down from the position on Jan. 30. Charles A. Sorber, Ph.D., has been serving as interim president since Feb. 16.

“I would like to express our thanks to the members of the search committee for their invaluable assistance in identifying superb academicians for the Board of Regents to consider,” said UT System Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs David B. Prior.  Prior served as chair of the search committee.

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 $11.5 billion (FY 2009) 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.

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