AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents will soon interview five candidates for the position of president for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley .
During a special meeting today, Regents received an update on the progress of the presidential search committee and approved a motion to interview candidates at a future board meeting.
The search process is being conducted according to the same rules and guidelines as other UT System presidential searches.
“I am committed to working with the Board of Regents to find an exceptional leader for this historic role,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. “We have been extremely pleased with the caliber of candidates we are attracting, and I am confident that we will find the right person for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Names of candidates are kept confidential to attract the absolute highest quality of candidates. Executive search firms advise that top candidates are reluctant to pursue a position without a promise of confidentiality, as it may jeopardize their current positions.
Under Texas law, only the names of finalists must be made public at least 21 days prior to selection of a president.
Though candidates’ names are kept confidential, they will visit the Rio Grande Valley and meet with faculty, staff, administrative and student representatives from UT Brownsville and UT Pan American, as well as community members. Those who attend the meetings will be asked to sign confidentiality agreements.
“This is the way we have conducted our presidential searches for a number of years and it has worked very well,” said Pedro Reyes, executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the UT System. Reyes manages the presidential search process for all academic campuses and serves as the chair of the search advisory committee. “Our committee has done an excellent job in identifying the best candidates from an impressive pool of talent.”
Members of the search advisory committee  were selected to assure representation by a wide range of constituencies. Board of Regents Vice Chairman Gene Powell serves 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, also serves as the board’s Special Liaison on South Texas Projects. The additional members are:
- Regent Ernest Aliseda, McAllen
- Regent Robert Stillwell, Houston
- 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
- Teri Alarcon, 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
Regents expressed enthusiasm at the prospect of soon selecting a president for UTRGV.
“To consider that creating a new university in South Texas was an idea approved by this board just over a year ago and to see how far we have come is truly astonishing,” said Regents Chairman Paul Foster. “My fellow regents and I are committed to establishing UTRGV as a game-changing opportunity for South Texas. We are confident that this new university and its medical school will forever change the state of Texas and provide education and health opportunities never before realized.
“Selecting the right leader for this monumental task is critical,” Foster continued. “We are committed to making the best decision for the future of UTRGV.”
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.