President Maria Hernandez Ferrier announced her resignation effective Dec. 31 during this morning’s faculty and staff meeting in the Central Academic Building auditorium.
Ferrier accepted a new position as director of development and Mexican relations where she will oversee relations between the Texas A&M University System and Mexico.
Administration did not name a successor who will become the university’s second president.Following today’s Faculty Senate meeting, Provost Brent Snow said it will be Chancellor John Sharp’s prerogative to select a replacement.
The A&M University System will conduct a formal national search for a new president to step in after Ferrier departs for her new position, according to a university press release.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Dr. Ferrier. It’s a sad day for us to lose her skill and expertise but it’s a great day for the university system. She’s a wonderful lady,” Snow said.
“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,” Ferrier said in a statement released this afternoon. “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 that 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,” she said.
The inaugural president began her position in February 2010 after serving as executive director for nearly two years. Her first position with A&M-San Antonio began in 2008 as an executive director while the university was operating as a system center.
Calls to the Texas A&M University System office of marketing and communications seeking additional information on Ferrier’s new position were not returned Friday. As part of a new system division, Ferrier will create, build, and oversee relations with Mexico for all 11 universities of the A&M System and the 7 System Agencies, according to the press release.
In her years in public school administration, Ferrier served in multiple national education appointments for presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Ferrier earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Speech and a Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling from Our Lady of the Lake University and received a Doctorate of Educational Administration from Texas A&M University-College Station.
According to William Bush, department chair of humanities and social services, during her four years as president, A&M-San Antonio achieved stand-alone status by the state legislature, full-time faculty members tripled and student enrollment nearly quadrupled earning the ranks of “fastest growing university” in the state and a top military friendly university.
Ferrier’s resignation was not a topic of discussion during Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting. In an interview following the meeting, Faculty Senate President Edward Westermann expressed confidence that the university will continue its educational mission.
“On behalf of the Faculty Senate, we would like to express our appreciation to Dr. Ferrier for her leadership and support of the growth of this university and we wish her the best in her continued duties in the Texas A&M University System,” Edward Westermann, president of Faculty Senate, said.
Asked for their reactions, students on campus this morning described Ferrier as a personable, and an accomplished president.
College of Education alumna Niza Hernandez, said although she and Ferrier only met a couple of times, Ferrier never forgot to give a warm welcome.
“She’s a very friendly lady,” Hernandez said. “She’s approached me twice, and even though she forgot my name, she still said hi and asked how I was doing.”
BAAS sociology senior Mary Byrne credits the university’s flourishing growth to university leaders, like Ferrier.
“I wish her the best,” Byrns said. “She’s done a lot for this school and wherever she’s at, I’m sure she’ll do great.”
Jennifer Luna contributed to this report.