Presidential Search Advisory Committee named for new UT in South Texas

A search advisory committee to assist in selecting the founding president for a new University of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley has been finalized and will begin work immediately.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Paul L. Foster announced the names of the 24 committee members today (Friday). The advisory committee will be tasked with presenting qualified candidates to the Board of Regents, which will then make the final decision. UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., said he hopes a new president will be announced in the spring of 2014.

“Establishing this new University of Texas is among the most historical and transformational efforts undertaken by the Board of Regents for generations,” Foster said. “This new university, approved by the Texas Legislature, will forever change the educational and economic landscape of South Texas and we need an exceptional leader to take on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The committee will meet within the next two weeks to discuss the process for recruiting and interviewing applicants, legal issues related to the committee and a timetable for bringing candidates to interview with the Board of Regents.

Committee members were selected to assure representation by a wide range of constituencies. Board of Regents Vice Chairman Gene Powell will also serve as a non-voting member of the committee. Powell, who has long championed the plan to establish a UT university eligible for Permanent University Funds in South Texas, was recently named as the board’s Special Liaison on South Texas Projects.

Pedro Reyes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the UT System, will chair the search committee. In addition to Powell, Regents Ernest Aliseda of McAllen and Robert Stillwell of Houston will represent the Board of Regents on the committee. The additional members are:

  • William Henrich, M.D., president of UT Health Science Center – San Antonio
  • Diana Natalicio, president of UT El Paso
  • Elizabeth Heise, immediate past-president of the Faculty Senate at UT Brownsville
  • Marie Mora, professor at UT Pan American
  • Bobette Morgan, Faculty Senate president at UT Brownsville
  • Thomas White, Faculty Senate chairman at UT Pan American
  • Carmelita A. Teeter, M.D., associate professor, UTHSC-SA Regional Academic Health Center
  • Dahlia Guerra, Dean of the UT Pan American College of Arts and Humanities
  • Danny O. Jacobs, M.D., Dean of Medicine at UT Medical Branch – Galveston
  • Javier Martinez, Dean of UT Brownsville’s College of Liberal Arts
  • Aaron Barreiro, president of the UT Pan American Student Government Association
  • Stephanie Mendez, president of the UT Brownsville Student Government Association
  • Arnoldo Mata, president of the UT Pan American Alumni Association
  • Jason Moody, past-president of the UT Brownsville Alumni Association
  • Liana Ryan, chair of the UT Pan American Staff Senate
  • Jaime Villanueva, president of the UT Brownsville Staff Senate
  • Cullen Looney, community member, Edinburg
  • Ricardo D. Martinez, M.D., community member, Edinburg
  • David Oliveira, community member, Brownsville
  • Anne Shepard, community member, Harlingen

Witt/Kieffer, 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.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2013 enrollment of more than 213,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $14.6 billion (FY 2014) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.