Pete P. Gallego, a former state lawmaker and U.S. representative, has been named the sole finalist for the Sul Ross State University presidency, the Texas State University System announced Thursday.
If confirmed next month, Gallego will be the university's 13th president and the first to have graduated from Sul Ross, one of the Texas State University System's seven schools. He was selected from a pool of nearly 40 candidates after a nationwide search.
Gallego, a Democrat and attorney, served as a U.S. representative for the 23rd Congressional District from 2013 to 2015 and as a state representative for two decades before that. In 2018, he lost a special election for Senate District 19 to Republican Pete Flores.
“Sul Ross opened the doors of opportunity for me and many from across Texas," Gallego said in a statement. "I’m excited to work with the communities of Alpine, Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Uvalde to make sure our university continues to open doors and provide a top quality education for future generations of our sons and daughters."
The main campus in Alpine and three satellite campuses in Del Rio, Uvalde and Eagle Pass serve a stretch of West Texas and the Middle Rio Grande, including much of the Texas-Mexico border. Students can complete their bachelor's degrees at Sul Ross after two years at a partner junior college, but some political leaders and faculty have cited the need for a four-year college in the area and additional resources.
Bill Kibler, the current president, will retire this summer after a no-confidence vote issued by the satellite campuses' faculty senate earlier this school year, which followed weeks of protests highlighting the poor conditions faced by students and faculty.
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