News Release Archive
Office of External Affairs
State celebrates health university presidents formal inauguration
With a promise and
a plan to propel The University of Texas Health Science Center at San
Antonio (UTHSC) into the top tier of academic health centers in
the nation, Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., was installed officially
Sept. 7 as the third president of South Texas preeminent medical
research and education center.
More than 1,000 leaders
from South Texas, the United States and Mexico held a formal ceremony
to celebrate the presidency of the native Texan, who studied in the nations
premier medical institutions.
Dr. Cigarroa is a nationally
renowned pediatric transplant surgeon, educated at Yale, UT Southwestern
Medical Center, Harvard and Johns Hopkins. He joined the UTHSC in 1995,
and served as the director of pediatric surgery before his presidential
appointment last October. He gained international recognition in 1997
when he served on the surgical team that split a donor liver for transplant
into two recipients; it was the first operation of its kind in Texas.
In 2000, he led the team that performed South Texas first successful
pediatric small bowel transplant.
As he accepted the
presidential medallion this morning, Dr.Cigarroa pledged to fulfill the
charge outlined in the state Constitution, which calls for a university
of the first class. It was the first reference in history to The
University of Texas.
I think about
that phrase a lot. A university of the first class
all of us who
have a stake in this Health Science Center are committed to that mandate,
Dr. Cigarroa said. My overarching goal can be stated rather simply:
to take this Health Science Center to the top tier of academic health
centers in the nation.
Dr. Cigarroa says the
university is already taking important steps to reach that goal. Among
his plans to elevate the Health Science Center status: an M.D./Ph.D. program,
enabling medical students to become physician-scientists, and investment
in the universitys technology and educational infrastructure.
that emanates from here has had major, life-changing impact on all of
humanity. I say that with confidence, Dr. Cigarroa said, citing
faculty developments such as the Palmaz Stent, now used in more than two
million procedures a year, an expandable titanium rib designed to help
babies breathe and a mouth guard to protect young athletes from injury.
Dr. Cigarroa addressed
a crowd of notable donors, including former Gov. Dolph Briscoe and San
Antonio businessman Sam Barshop, as well as state senators and local officials.
University of Texas Regents Patrick C. Oxford of Houston and Cyndi Krier
Taylor of San Antonio were part of the presidential party that presented
Dr. Cigarroa with the university medallion, symbolizing the authority
invested in the president.
He is doing excellent
job, Gov. Briscoe said. His enthusiasm, even his work ethic,
is contagious. Under his direction, the university will continue bringing
the finest medical care to some of the most underserved areas of the state.
Dr. Cigarroa emphasized
the universitys expansion throughout South Texas, including the
growth of the UTHSCs new campuses in San Antonio, Edinburg, Harlingen
Dr. Cigarroa also focused
on the students, promising to increase scholarship funding in an effort
to address the shortage of doctors in South Texas. I have another
commitment to the future. It can best be described by a phrase I use often:
No closed doors. Bright, dedicated, young people should never be denied
the opportunity to attend the Health Science Center because of a lack
of financial resources, Dr. Cigarroa said.
A scholarship recipient
spoke on behalf of the student body during the Investiture greetings.
Arturo Portillo, the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Presidential Scholar,
told the audience that Dr. Cigarroa was an inspiration to every student,
in the Health Science Centers five schools, encompassing medical,
nursing, dental, graduate research and allied health professions. Your
commitment to excellence and your dedication to the health professions
are legendary, Portillo said. My pledge to you today, representing
the students of this great university, is that we will not let you down.
We are being given a wonderful education, and we will use it to serve
the people of Texas.
The Cigarroa family
has served South Texas for several generations. Dr. Cigarroas father
has practiced medicine in Laredo; he followed in the footsteps of his
physician father. Dr. Cigarroas brother, Joaquin, is also a practicing
physician and assistant professor at The University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas.
Dr. Cigarroa and his wife, Graciela, an attorney, have two daughters,
Maria Cristina, 13, and Barbara Carisa, 10.
Contact: Will Sansom
or Amanda Gallagher