The University of Texas System's board expects to spend four to six months finding a new chancellor to replace Francisco Cigarroa, who announced Monday he would step down after his successor is named.
Cigarroa plans to focus now on practicing medicine, which he has done even as chancellor, and also advise the system as it prepares to establish a medical school in the state's Rio Grande Valley. In recent years he has resisted intense pressure from some members of the Board of Regents who are close to Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, to fire Bill Powers as president of the flagship campus at Austin. Powers has been defended by many students, faculty members and alumni. At a press conference, Cigarroa said he continues to support Powers.
“I evaluate all presidents, as I’ve always done, based on facts and performance," he said. "You know [...], I support President Powers, and I’ll continue to evaluate presidents every day, not only President Powers but all 15.” The system has nine universities and six current medical centers.
Board of Regents Chairman Paul Foster said, not unexpectedly, that Perry, who appoints the board, would have some say in who replaces Cigarroa.
“His input will be sought and will be certainly considered, but he doesn’t have a direct role in the process," Foster said.