Rumaldo Juarez (KNFP 9), President, Texas A&M University, Kingsville, Texas
”Did it help our students?”
Rumaldo JuarezFive years ago, Rumaldo Juarez assumed the mantle of presidency at Texas A&M University, Kingsville. In that time, he has helped to inject a new paradigm into the 81-year-old institution that reflects the importance he and his administrators place on scholarship. Together, they have increased the admission standards, expanded the university’s research funding, instituted the university’s first capital fundraising campaign, and added several new graduate and undergraduate degree programs.
A particular milestone in Rumaldo’s tenure to date has been working with a committed team of faculty, alumni, local community leaders, and state elected officials to establish a new College of Pharmacy on campus, the first of its kind in South Texas, in order to remedy the shortage of pharmacists in the state.
Rumaldo has also been inspired by the participation and commitment from all the stakeholders in a recently completed two-year process to develop the university’s 2006-2011 Strategic Plan.
”I am fortunate to be surrounded by very creative minds that care about our mission, vision, core values, and goals, and most important of all, care about our students. My key role as leader is to listen to these creative minds and formulate a direction that will lead us to a higher level of excellence in the best interest of our students,” says Rumaldo.
The standard by which Rumaldo measures each day’s work is: ”Did it help our students?”
Reflects Rumaldo, ”As president of an educational institution, I make decisions all the time. If I really value life-long learning environments, and the students and society that I serve, I must be committed to the essence of change. My decisions must always be guided by integrity. Without integrity, I cannot lead.”
His word of advice to aspiring leaders in his field is: ”Never compromise your integrity!”
The Kellogg National Fellowship Program was a turning point that led Rumaldo to aspire to his leadership role in higher education.
”The Fellowship allowed me to broaden my horizons and experiment with life and professional experiences that would have never crossed my path,” he says. ”The Fellowship resources allowed me to develop my leadership skills in professional development courses and also gave me the opportunity to travel and meet other leaders. The experience of international travel is one that I now encourage everyone to do, especially our students.”
Now, placed in the front lines of decision-making, Rumaldo is able to apply all he has learned.
”I am willing to make the hard decisions that are unpopular for the benefit of outcomes that will serve us and our stakeholders better in the long run,” he says. ”I’ve made some mistakes, no doubt, and every day brings a new challenge. These challenges keep making me a better person.” [12/06]