Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville president announces new role with university

KINGSVILLE - February 13, 2008

Contact: Jill Scoggins
jill.scoggins@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2146

Juárez will leave presidency June 30 to oversee research, graduate studies

Rumaldo Z. Juarez
Dr. Juarez

Dr. Rumaldo Z. Juárez, president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, announced today that he will resign the presidency June 30 to assume the newly created position of associate vice president for research and graduate studies, effective July 1.

Juárez has served as president since August 2002. He announced his new role first in a morning meeting with vice presidents, deans and representatives of the university’s Faculty Senate, Student Government Association, University Staff Council and President’s Senior Faculty Advisory Group, and then in a letter e-mailed to students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“I continue to be dedicated to the mission of this University, excited by the continued potential we possess as well as eager to overcome the challenges we face,” he said. “At the same time, I have always known that a university president’s term is finite and that I would move on at some point. Serving as the president of a rural comprehensive research university like Texas A&M-Kingsville is an awesome, demanding and intense job. It requires considerable sacrifice by one’s family, and I am long overdue in dedicating more of my time to my family and the many other loved ones that get short-changed by the professional demands on my time.

“I also want to make this announcement now so that a smooth transition can occur before the 81st Legislative session gets in full swing. Ideally, my successor should be in place before the next biennium begins in January 2009, and announcing this move now can help enable it to occur.”

Juárez discussed the resignation and his new position at A&M-Kingsville with Texas A&M University System Chancellor Dr. Michael McKinney during the Board of Regents’ January meeting, held Jan. 24-25 in College Station, Texas.

“Dr. Rumaldo Juárez has dedicated his life’s work to higher education, and I am pleased that he has decided to remain with the institution he has shepherded the past six years,” McKinney said. “He possesses superb skill and expertise in obtaining research funding and developing and strengthening graduate education. We are extremely fortunate that he will continue to put these talents to work for Texas A&M University-Kingsville.”

McKinney added that an interim president of the university, if needed, would be announced at a later date and that a national search would be undertaken to fill the position on a permanent basis. In the meantime, both he and Dr. Frank Ashley, vice chancellor for academic affairs, will work closely with Juarez and his staff until the transition is concluded.

Juárez’s new position will combine two existing divisions, the College of Graduate Studies and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). Currently, the ORSP is headed by Sandra Rexroat, who is in the process of transitioning out of the position as she assumes full-time duties as university archivist, a position that became vacant in September 2007 with the retirement of Cecilia Aros Hunter. Rexroat was selected to succeed Hunter and has been devoting one-quarter time to the ORSP while the search for a new director is under way. At the same time, Dr. Alberto Olivares, current dean of the College of Graduate Studies, has announced he will retire, effective Aug. 30. Juárez’s new position combines oversight of both areas of responsibility in a configuration that is found at many universities.

“Working closely with all parts of the Javelina community, and especially with our remarkable students, has been one of the great joys of my professional life, so I am delighted that I will continue to be a part of this institution,” Juárez said.

Texas A&M-Kingsville currently ranks 13th in the state in research expenditures, with $12.4 million, and Juárez said he will work to enable faculty and the new administration to bring more research and external funding to the campus. At the same time, he intends to build on the success the campus has seen in recent years with the addition of new doctoral and master’s degrees.

“We must do more to enable young investigators to obtain their early sponsored awards,” he said. “Fostering and mentoring young research faculty is crucial to maintaining a strong overall research program.

“In graduate education, we have experienced great success with the 54 master’s degrees we offer and our doctoral degrees in environmental engineering, wildlife science, educational leadership, bilingual education and two cooperative doctoral degrees with Texas A&M University in Hispanic studies and horticulture. Plans also are under way to add other new graduate degree programs. We also intend to create more online degrees such as our master’s degrees in adult education and industrial engineering – both of which are now available entirely over the Internet.”
During his tenure as president, the university also has:

  • developed and implemented its five-year strategic plan, Vision 2012: Catalyst for Excellence.
  • launched the university’s first comprehensive capital campaign, the three-year Building on Our Traditions campaign, which has generated more than $9 million in new funding, particularly new scholarships for students.
  • revamped admission criteria and reorganized the enrollment management division to increase the pool of prospective students who have the greatest chance to succeed in college.
  • achieved reaffirmation of its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation for the next 10 years.
  • implemented Quality Enhancement Program courses to give undergraduates a mastery of knowledge of their major field, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, civic awareness and ethical responsibility.
  • established the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, bringing South Texas its first professional school and laying the foundation for the Texas A&M Health Science Center to step in and assume oversight of its operations.
  • built the Tio and Janell Kleberg Wildlife Research Center, created the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management, and secured funding for a new Citrus Center facility in Weslaco and a new Student Recreation Center in Kingsville.
  • enhanced the growth of the System Center-San Antonio, bringing upper-level undergraduate education to the South Side of San Antonio for the first time in the city’s history.
  • re-organized College One into University College, providing more services in student retention and adding academic advisors in each of the colleges.
  • revised the promotion and tenure criteria to clarify standards and ensure that the university continually evolves to meet the needs of our region, state and nation.

Juárez, however, is quick to share the credit in bringing new programs and initiatives to fruition in his tenure. “I am well aware that these accomplishments are in no way mine alone. We had a great team effort that succeeded in getting these things done. I also know that some of you disagreed with me at times, as is always the case when good people come together to try to accomplish great things. What I will always remember are not our differences but those great things we have accomplished together.

“I also want to thank my family and especially my wife, Teresa. She has been a wonderful First Lady for Texas A&M-Kingsville, and I will always be grateful for her support and encouragement.
“I have the deepest appreciation for the enormous support and assistance my wife and I have received from the Javelina Family and the Kingsville community. We will treasure the continuing friendship and support of the exceptional colleagues, students and alumni and friends of this institution. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have served as the 17th president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Go Hogs!”

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