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The Source: The Legacy Of Francisco Cigarroa

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Courtesy of the University of Texas System
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Last week was a busy one for Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, former chancellor of the University of Texas System.

On Monday he found out he won the Julio Palmaz Award for innovation in health care and biosciences, and on Thursday the University of Texas replaced him, confirming his successor, Admiral William McRaven.

Cigarroa oversaw a tumultuous time in UT history; one of his predecessors called it the most tumultuous time in the 130 years of the Texas higher education system.

Appointed in 2009, the past five years have been characterized by shrinking state contributions and rising tuition costs, public political battles over the vision of education in Texas, as well as expansion, including the addition of two new medical schools. We'll find out what he thinks he will be remembered for and what advice he might have for his replacement.

Cigarroa is returning to the University of Texas Health Science Center, where he was president before being selected chancellor. He says he will continue in the profession of his father, uncle and grandfather: being a physician.

The pediatric surgeon has been keeping his hand in surgery with reportedly two operations per month.

His work in higher education, his career in health, as well as his dedication to South Texas can be traced back to his father, Joaquin Cigarroa Jr., who still practices medicine in Laredo, where Francisco was born and raised.

The Rio Grande Valley is a place long defined by its poverty and lack of health care access, but a lifetime of work as health providers and the recent decision to merge UT Brownsville and UT Pan America into UT Rio Grande Valley had led to a new medical school. 

His legacy at UT, his family and his work with border health are all on the program this afternoon.

Guest:

  • Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, pediatric surgeon and former chancellor of the University of Texas System.

*This is the first segment in the August 25 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM. Audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive