President Cigarroa receives Salute to Education lifetime honor


Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., president of the Health Science Center, will be honored for lifetime achievement tonight at the 13th Annual Salute to Education awards banquet in San Antonio.

The Salute to Education is a non-profit initiative established by the Ford Motor Co. and local Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealers. The program provides college scholarships to high school seniors, awards grants to local schools and non-profit educational organizations, and recognizes outstanding individuals for their contributions to education.

Dr. Cigarroa, who was appointed president of the Health Science Center in 2000, is the first Hispanic to lead a U.S. health sciences university. A Laredo native who received his education at Yale, Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Dr. Cigarroa has established and expanded partnerships throughout South Texas; presided over the establishment of campuses in Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg; and even continued to take surgical call while president.

Dr. Cigarroa is a nationally renowned pediatric and transplant surgeon and is the youngest individual to receive the lifetime achievement honor from the Salute to Education. He was on the Health Science Center/University Hospital surgical team that in 1997 split a donor liver for transplant into two recipients – the first operation of its kind in Texas. In 2000, he headed the team that performed South Texas’ first successful pediatric small bowel transplant.

A compassionate physician and dedicated leader, Dr. Cigarroa serves on the medical staff of four San Antonio hospitals. President Bush appointed him to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. Dr. Cigarroa is one of 12 of the nation’s most prominent leaders chosen to evaluate award nominees in the fields of research, science and engineering.

Dr. Cigarroa has presided over the most successful era of fund raising in Health Science Center history. His vision includes a $300 million Research Tower in the South Texas Medical Center. Dr. Cigarroa is a third-generation physician with 12 years of graduate training.

Other 2005 Salute to Education honorees and categories include Paula Owen, president of Southwest School of Art & Craft, the arts; Elaine Mendoza, chairperson, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, business; Pat Flynn, board member, San Antonio Public Library Foundation, community service; and Dr. Ana M. “Cha” Guzman, president, Palo Alto College, education.

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