August 2 marked President Hector Salvador Ochoa’s first day on the job at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Ochoa met with faculty and staff during a coffee and pan dulce reception to commemorate the occasion.
Cynthia Teniente-Matson, former A&M-San Antonio president, stepped down in November to take a position at San Jose State University. After months of searching and rounds of interviews, the A&M Board of Regents unanimously approved Ochoa as the school’s new president May 18.
During the reception, he thanked the staff and faculty for coming and spoke about his excitement at starting the new gig with the university.
Ochoa served as dean of the College of Education at the University of New Mexico and The University of Texas-Pan American. Before taking the position at A&M-San Antonio, he was the provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at San Diego State University.
“It’s not about you or me,” Ochoa said. “It’s about the students and that will always be my north star.”
Ochoa credited his experience as a dean and provost for motivating him to better comprehend what influences student success and emphasized his willingness to adjust leadership style in an effort to cultivate A&M-San Antonio’s learning infrastructure.
“I want to learn about this institution,” Ochoa said. “Hear from students; hear from everybody in order to create an academic community where people feel welcomed and respected and heard.”
Overall, faculty and staff liked what the new boss had to say.
Arturo Olague, the director of recreational sports, said he was eager to see what Ochoa would bring to the university.
“Really excited to see what he has in store for us,” Olague said. “I’m excited to show him what we have to offer as A&M-San Antonio.”
Kimele Carter, the director of disability support services, appreciated Ochoa’s point of view on student development.
“I am student focused,” Carter said. “I love the way he put it that [students] are his ‘north star.’”
William Erikson, assistant psychology professor, was intrigued by Ochoa’s own background in psychology and said he looks forward to seeing how he would integrate with the university.
“I’m hoping he resonates with us.”
Ochoa said the tacos in Texas were better than in California, and admitted that he and his wife missed Texan cuisine during his time in New Mexico and California.
“There’s no comparison,” Ochoa said.