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Cigarroa Confirms He'll Step Down as UT Chancellor

UPDATED: In a Sunday night email to University of Texas System administrators, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa confirmed he plans to announce his resignation at a Monday morning news conference.

UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa at the House Select Committee hearing on Dec. 18, 2013

Update, 8:52 p.m.:

In a Sunday night email to University of Texas System administrators, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa confirmed he plans to announce his resignation at a Monday morning news conference.

The full text of the email: 

Dear Colleagues,

When I began my journey as chancellor of The University of Texas System in February 2009, I knew the day would come when I would return to transplant surgery.  Having spent the past 14 years in administration for the U. T. System, first as president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC-SA) and now as chancellor, the time has come for me to return to my lifelong love and passion -- saving lives one individual at a time.

Upon the Board of Regents’ appointment of my successor, I will return to UTHSC-SA as head of Pediatric Transplant Surgery.  This position, offered to me in late 2013, presents an opportunity for me to do what I trained so many years to do, and I view it as an important calling at an ideal time.  Thanks to your extraordinary work, many of the U. T. System goals we developed together are now in the implementation stage and in excellent hands.  I can leave the U. T. System Administration with the highest degree of confidence, knowing that together we have successfully achieved what we set out to do.

My decision was not made lightly, but I was comforted by two factors, both tied to family.  My new position will allow me to remain in the U. T. System family, an environment to which I am dedicated and committed.  Additionally, I will be able to convey gratitude and respect to my parents for the sacrifices they made for my siblings and me to spend considerable years in school to train as physicians.  My father continues to practice medicine daily at age 89, and three of my brothers are physicians. It is time to honor what my parents did for me by returning to my father’s and my first love, the practice of medicine.

Serving as chancellor of the U. T. System and working with you will always be the high point in my life as an administrator.  I marvel at the leadership, spirit, devotion, creativity and professionalism demonstrated by the System Administration staff and across our campuses.  You have given me a great gift in supporting me and enabling me to lead the U. T. System, and I will forever be grateful to each one of you.

Chairman Foster has advised me that the Board of Regents will begin a search for a new chancellor in the coming weeks, and until my successor is named, I will continue to serve to the best of my abilities.

This marks a bittersweet time for me.  While I look forward to being back in the operating room, I will no longer have the privilege of interacting with you daily.  In the months ahead, I hope to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to many of you personally and to let you know how much I have enjoyed working with you.

Chairman Foster will join me tomorrow morning as I share my news with the media.

With greatest respect,

Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.

Original story: 

Francisco Cigarroa, the chancellor of the University of Texas System, will announce Monday that plans to step down to become the head of the pediatric surgery unit at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, three sources tell The Texas Tribune.

Cigarroa's intention to resign his post was first reported late Sunday by the Austin American-StatesmanA Sunday release by the system said Cigarroa and Paul Foster, the chairman of the Board of Regents, will appear together at a Monday morning news conference at which the chancellor will make a "special announcement."

The first Hispanic to lead a major university system in the United States, 56-year-old Cigarroa was appointed in January 2009. His last three years as chancellor have been consumed by controversy over the relationship between the system's Board of Regents and the University of Texas at Austin — and particularly its president, Bill Powers. But he also presided over the creation of a new system institution in South Texas, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and was instrumental in pushing legislative approval of medical schools in Austin and the lower Rio Grande Valley.

Both the Statesman and the Tribune's sources say Cigarroa will remain in his current job until a replacement is found.

The timing of Cigarroa's departure is an interesting moment politically in Texas. Gov. Rick Perry, whose appointees to the UT regents have been notably aggressive in their oversight of the chancellor, is in his last year in office. The next governor, presumably Attorney General Greg Abbott or state Sen. Wendy Davis, could inherit a choice made by their predecessor instead of getting an opportunity to put their own mark on the system.

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