William Kibler, the vice president for student affairs at Mississippi State University, was named Monday as the sole finalist to be the next president of Sul Ross State University.

According to a news release from the Texas State University System, nearly 40 candidates either applied or were nominated for the post. Kibler was one of three finalists named in May. The other two were H. Neil Matkin, executive vice president at Louisiana College and Technical College System, and Quint Thurman, who has been serving as interim president of Sul Ross, which based in Alpine.

The previous president, Ricardo Maestas, who had served in the post since 2009, abruptly stepped down in November. During his tenure, Maestas occasionally found himself at odds with some local leaders in the small Alpine community.

Per state law, Kibler must wait at least 21 days after being named the sole finalist before he can officially be named the next president. But he is expected to be installed in advance of the upcoming fall semester.

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"Dr. Kibler has a passion for students, a deep appreciation for faculty and a vision for Sul Ross that is grounded in excellence," Texas State University System Chancellor Brian McCall said in a statement. "I am confident that Bill will lead the university into a new era and help instill an even greater sense of pride among Sul Ross students, faculty, staff and alumni."

In addition to overseeing the university in Alpine, the Sul Ross president oversees Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College, which has campuses in Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Uvalde.

"Our family looks forward to joining the Alpine community and becoming frequent visitors to the Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Uvalde communities," Kibler said in a statement. "There is much to be proud of at Sul Ross State University and Rio Grande College, and I look forward to working closely with faculty, staff and students as we move together into an exciting future."

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