Elaine Mendoza made history Friday when she was named the new leader of the body that governs the Texas A&M University System, becoming the first Hispanic person and the second woman to hold the position.

Mendoza was first appointed to the system’s board of regents by then-Gov. Rick Perry in 2011. She was reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2017. She is a Texas A&M alumna herself, graduating from the College Station school with a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering.

The San Antonian’s term expires in 2023. Mendoza will serve the board as chair for a two-year term. She replaces outgoing Chairman Charles Schwartz.

“I am grateful to Governor Abbott for my reappointment to the board in 2017 and am most appreciative of my colleagues for their support and vote of confidence,” Mendoza said in a statement. “Serving the Texas A&M System as a Regent is an honor and a great responsibility. I know our Board will continue the legacy of always putting the interest of our students, faculty and the state of Texas first.”

The 10-member board of regents oversees the system’s administration and 11 universities and seven state agencies. Mendoza is the founder, president, and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks Inc., a biotechnology and medical company in San Antonio. She chairs the Pre-K 4 SA board locally and serves on the board of the education nonprofit UP Partnership.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.