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Juliet Garcia to Lead New Institute in South Texas

University of Texas at Brownsville President Juliet Garcia will step down from the role she has held for more than two decades to lead a new University of Texas Institute of the Americas located in the Rio Grande Valley.

University of Texas at Brownsville President Juliet Garcia will step down from the role she has held for more than two decades to lead a new University of Texas Institute of the Americas located in the Rio Grande Valley.

In a statement, University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, who announced the plans for the new institute on Tuesday, said, "The institute will be similar to the Aspen Institute and other scholarly institutes, which foster the convening of scholars and other experts to engage in a dialogue of ideas and search for solutions in education, societal and policy issues."

UT-Brownsville will soon merge with the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg to create a new institution called the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which will also include a medical school. Garcia, who is leaving her current post in August, did not apply for the presidency of the new institution, which ultimately went to former Texas Tech University President Guy Bailey.

Before Bailey takes over, both of the soon-to-be-combined schools will have interim leaders. No decision has yet been made as to who will lead either school for the final months before the official creation of UT-RGV in 2015.

UT-Pan American President Robert Nelsen, who has served in that position since 2010 and was a finalist for the presidency of UT-RGV, will also be stepping down at the end of August.

Shortly after that plan was announced in mid-May, Cigarroa announced that Nelsen — like Garcia, it turns out — would not be leaving the UT System right away. 

"He will remain part of our team in the subsequent year and we are currently in discussions about a role at UT System administration that takes full advantage of his leadership and ideas and helps us in this important transition as UT-RGV comes to life," Cigarroa wrote in an email.

In a statement, Garcia conveyed excitement about the next chapter of her career.

"The chance to lead this incredible new institute that focuses on an area so important to me — both personally and professionally — is truly an honor," she said. "The UT Institute of the Americas is unlike anything that currently exists and I am so eager to get to work developing our nation’s next great leadership institute."

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at http://www.texastribune.org/2014/05/28/juliet-garcia-lead-new-institute-south-texas/.

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