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Who Is UT Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa?

By Staff Report
Published On: Apr 24 2012 07:05:43 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2012 08:28:44 AM CDT

Francisco G. Cigarroa has been chancellor of the University of Texas System since February 2009. On Tuesday morning he canceled the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Andy Lee June 16 fight at the Sun Bowl. Boxing promoter Bob Arum said the UT System cited "security concerns" for the cancelation.

Cigarroa, a Mexican-American pediatric surgeon from Laredo, became the first Hispanic to preside over a major U.S. university system when he became chancellor of the UT System.

"Challenges really don't dissuade me from pursuing important opportunities," Cigarroa told The Associated Press in 2009. "If you're an optimist, you see opportunities, and that's the way I've been brought up."

Cigarroa, as the chief executive officer of the UT System, administers an $11.5 billion operating budget and presides over 15 campuses with nearly 200,000 students.

One of nine children born to a doctor and a disciplinarian mother in Laredo, Cigarroa recalled to The Associated Press a childhood filled with trips to his grandparents across the border in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico where he frequently visited his mother-in-law there.

The Yale graduate received his medical degree, with highest honors, from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. His surgical prowess has earned him the nickname "manos de oro," or "golden hands."

State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, a longtime family friend, called Cigarroa a "true renaissance man" who represented the changing demographics of Texas.

"Imagine the kind of role model he'll be for young students," she told The Associated Press in 2009. "Imagine how many parents will look at him proudly."

According to Cigarroa's UT System biography, he still finds time to utilize his nationally renowned surgical skills. Approximately every third weekend, he performs liver and kidney transplant surgeries on children and adults.

Cigarroa and his wife, Graciela, an attorney, have two grown daughters, Maria Cristina and Barbara Carisa. Cigarroa also is an accomplished classical guitarist.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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