As classes began this week at the University of Texas at Brownsville, students, faculty and staff were not just gearing up for UTB’s final school year, but also for the reign of a new university president.
Juliet V. Garcia, who had been the only president in UTB history, will step down from the position at the end of the month. She served as TexasSouthmostCollege president from 1986 to 2011. In 1991, TSC partnered with UTB to become UTB-TSC, a partnership that dissolved in 2011. Garcia was also the first Hispanic woman to serve as president of any university in the United States.
Former UT Permian Basin Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs William Fannin will take over as interim president of UTB on Sept. 1 while the university awaits its consolidation with UT Pan American next fall to become UT Rio Grande Valley, which will be lead by UTRGV President Guy Bailey.
As a welcome, Fannin received the university’s mace from Garcia on Monday during the UTB fall convocation held at the UTB Student Union’s Gran Salon. The mace is a symbol of authority for the university.
“I look forward to formally being president ad interim of the University of Texas at Brownsville on Monday, Sept. 1,” Fannin said in a statement Tuesday. “As I make a new start and become familiar with the university’s functions, our students are finalizing their admissions requirements and payments to start fall semester classes.”
Another major change coming for the UTB community is the retirement of Provost Alan Artibise, who will be leaving at the end of the semester.
Garcia will spend this next academic year preparing for the University of Texas Institute of the Americas, an institute that will focus on developing the next generation of leadership. It will be rooted in the values of a democratic society and will provide a non-partisan venue for convening discussions of critical issues with global significance, according to university officials.
The UTB Alumni Association will host a celebration recognizing the achievements of alumni and to bid farewell to Garcia. The minimum donation to attend is $10. The event will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday at El Gran Patio at the MainBuilding.
A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com.