The University of Texas System announced the start of a national search for the president of The University of Texas-Pan American Monday, Aug. 25 after Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, the longest seated Hispanic president of a four-year college or university in the United States, recently announced he was stepping down from his duties as UTPA president.
"We are announcing today the beginning of a national search to look for a successor to Dr. Nevárez," Sullivan said. "We are looking for somebody who will build on the legacy that he has left here and will lead UT Pan American as it becomes a major force in higher education."
Sullivan said the search for a UTPA president will take from nine to 11 months and will require an Advisory Committee to recommend candidates to the UT System Board of Regents, who will then make the final decision.
The Advisory Committee will be made up of two regents, two UT System presidents, the chancellor, executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs or Health Affairs, three UTPA faculty members, one UTPA dean, one UTPA student, president of the UTPA Alumni Association, one staff member and two representatives of the community who have a deep interest in and support of the institution.
"Anybody will be eligible to apply, people from inside this institution, people from other UT institutions and people from other Texas institutions of higher education and indeed from across the country can apply," Sullivan said.
Sullivan said when conducting a national search, an Advisory Committee generally looks for a strong leader, a good representative who works well with others on and outside of campus and one who is alert to the economic development issues in Edinburg and the surrounding areas.
Sullivan said the fact that Nevárez will remain at UTPA until August 2004 will help in the transition of leadership.
"The UT System is grateful to Dr. Nevárez for his leadership because he is the true founding father of this modern and vibrant campus in the UT System," she said. "His passion for this institution, I think stands as a monument for all the hard work he has put into it."
Nevárez said with the student population expected to jump to 30,000 in the next 10 years; he would like to see the next UTPA president continue with the University's vision and over-arching goals of improving student access and success, being a state leader in the preparation and production of public school teachers and becoming a doctoral research University.
"I think what we are trying to do is lay out the vision and plans for the University and we need to make a fit between the candidates and the needs of the institution," Nevárez said.
According to Sullivan the resignation of Nevárez is a real loss for the UT System.
"Dr. Nevárez is a legend. He is a real institution builder and in the lifetime of a University you're fortunate if you have one person like Dr. Nevárez," Sullivan said. "There won't be anyone like him again. I told the President's Council that we are looking for a successor because we will never find a replacement because there is not another Dr. Nevárez."
Nevárez has served the UTPA community for more than 32 years - 22 years as president and nine as vice president for Student Affairs. He was the first Rio Grande Valley native and alumnus to serve as president of the University. Nevárez said he will continue to serve UTPA in a faculty position.