Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Courtesy photo.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Courtesy photo.

Maria Hernandez Ferrier, who has served as inaugural president of Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMU-SA) since 2010, has accepted a new role as Director of Development and Mexico Relations. In this newly created division, she will create, build and oversee relations with Mexico for all 11 universities of the A&M System and the seven System Agencies.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio President Maria Ferrier
Texas A&M University-San Antonio President Maria Ferrier

Ferrier will remain president of TAMU-SA until the end of this year, assuming her new role in January 2015.

According to a university press release, TAMU-SA has been the fastest growing university in Texas for five years – growing 216% since 2008 to fall 2013 with Ferrier at the helm – including new construction on the 692-acre Main Campus.

Beyond the university’s rapid growth, Ferrier oversaw several other notable accomplishments for such a young institution. She secured TAMU-SA’s designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Security and Information Assurance by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. She also oversaw the acquisition of the former Museo Alameda and its transformation into the Educational and Cultural Arts Center. And she initiated the “Ready from Day One” program for teacher preparation, and was the first university president in Texas to embrace a $10,000 degree program.

“We are all very excited that Dr. Ferrier accepted this new position. She has done such a wonderful job with TexasA&M-San Antonio and I am certain that she will bring the same dedication and innovation to building relations with Mexico for the entire A&M System,” said Elaine Mendoza, a member of the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and San Antonio business owner.

Ferrier issued the following statement:

“As I step into a new role for the A&M System, I am reminded once more of how much a great university was needed in the heart of the south side of San Antonio.  I am grateful to those with vision who came before me both at the system and in the community. I know that when I came into this position, I was standing on the shoulders of giants, men and women with the tenacity to make that vision reality.

“Today, A&M-SA stands to become the second largest university in the A&M System and one of the most beautiful—worthy of our students and the A&M name.

“I have been extremely honored and blessed to serve as its inaugural president. I’ve had the privilege of working with dedicated professionals and have learned much from them during my tenure.  Being part of the foundation of a new university that is also part of an extraordinary System with deep roots in Texas and the world, was more than I could have ever imagined. I often tell people that I never thought a poor Mexican girl who grew up in a Westside Barrio of San Antonio would be president of a university one day, but education and faith were the keys that have brought me to where I am today,” Ferrier said.

TAMUSA President Maria Ferrier stands with the woman of the hour, Rosie Castro, and Jorge Cortez as Rosie's son, Major Julian Castro looks on. Photo by Al Rendon.
After the Educational and Cultural Arts Center unveiling and poem honoring mother’s day, TAMU-SA President Maria Ferrier stands with the woman of the hour, Rosie Castro, and Jorge Cortez as Rosie’s son, Major Julián Castro proudly looks on. Photo by Al Rendon.

“I have made many friends among the faculty, staff, students, and alumni and I deeply admire Texas A&M-San Antonio and its mission. I will miss shaking the hand of each of our graduates when they cross the stage at our commencement ceremonies, but I leave knowing that in this place, that I love so dearly, their dreams became reality, and my new position will allow me to make many more opportunities for the A&MSystem family.”

A national search will be conducted for a new president to step in after Ferrier’s transition.

“Maria has done an outstanding job of developing the school into one of the fastest growing universities in the state. In addition, she has created a strong relationship between TAMU-SA and the local community. I wish her continued success in her new role and know she will continue to be a tremendous asset to the Texas A&M University System,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor, John Sharp.

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Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. Contact her at iris@sareport.org