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Carlos Hernandez tapped as Sul Ross State University interim president

After shifting from his role as Sam Houston State University’s chief financial officer, Hernandez will focus on student recruitment and bolstering academic programs at Sul Ross to combat declining enrollment.

By Brooke Park, Texas Tribune

The Texas State University System on Monday named Carlos Hernandez, Sam Houston State University’s chief financial officer, to become interim president of Sul Ross State University next month.

“As chief operating officer at Sam Houston State, Carlos has played a central role in the university’s growth and success over the past eight years, and I am confident that he will make a similar impact at Sul Ross,” Brian McCall, chancellor of the Texas State University System, said in a statement.

Hernandez replaces outgoing Sul Ross president Pete Gallego. Hernandez had planned to retire from Sam Houston this month, but instead will spend the next academic year focusing on how to boost Sul Ross’  declining enrollment numbers and poor student retention rates.

Last fall, enrollment at the Alpine-based university had fallen to 1,485 students.

Gallego, a former U.S. congressman, announced his resignation last November after 18 months as president. Gallego stepped down after clashing with faculty and influential donors who disliked the direction he was taking the university. Gallego also got caught in a disagreement between the Texas State University System and members of the Far West Texas region who also wanted the university transferred to another system. The search for Sul Ross’ next permanent president has not yet begun, Texas State University System spokesperson Mike Wintemute said.

Hernandez comes to Sul Ross after holding leadership positions at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he attended college, and the University of North Texas System. Hernandez is president of the Texas Association of State Senior College and University Business Officers.

“I am thrilled and humbled by the opportunity to join Sul Ross State University, to serve our students in Alpine, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Uvalde, and to be a part of their Sul Ross experience,” Hernandez said in a statement.

Hernandez will also work on the Alpine school’s budget and other priorities with the Texas State University System, heading into the 2023 session of the Texas Legislature. Faculty have said the three Sul Ross satellite campuses are in need of better resources, such as reliable wireless service.

Reporter Kate McGee contributed to this story.