Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., former chancellor of the University of Texas System and former president of UT Health San Antonio, has been elected chairman of the Ford Foundation’s board of trustees.
The foundation, based in New York, is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. Dr. Cigarroa joined the board in 2014 and serves as chair of the finance committee, while also serving on the executive committee, the investments committee, and the Democracy, Rights, and Justice program committee.
A nationally renowned transplant surgeon, he is head of pediatric transplant surgery and division head of liver transplant surgery at UT Health San Antonio. Previously, Dr. Cigarroa was the chancellor of the University of Texas system, consisting of nine universities and six health institutions. Prior to that, he served for nine years as president of UT Health San Antonio.
Dr. Cigarroa said his election was “an honor and a privilege.”
“The work of the organizations we support is more urgent than ever,” he added, “and I look forward to working with my fellow trustees and with President Darren Walker, who provides the visionary leadership that will ensure this organization remains strong and vital for years ahead. In everything we do, we aim for the Ford Foundation to be among the most effective, respected, and impactful philanthropies in the world.”
In 2003, Cigarroa was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science, as one of 12 of the nation’s most prominent leaders in the fields of research, science, and engineering. In 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Cigarroa to serve as a commissioner for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans. In addition, Cigarroa is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A third-generation physician, Cigarroa earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Yale University and a medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. During his postgraduate training, he was chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and completed pediatric surgery and transplant surgery fellowships at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Ford Foundation trustees are elected by the full board and serve six-year terms. Trustees set broad policy relating to grantmaking, geographic focus, investments, governance, and professional standards, and they oversee internal and independent audits. The foundation’s trustees hail from four continents and have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business and finance, technology, law, government, and the nonprofit sector.