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SAN ANTONIO (May 17, 2016) – Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Varun Pokkamthanam Joseph, a fourth-year dental student from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, as the new student regent for The University of Texas System Board of Regents.
As the student regent, Joseph represents more than 217,000 students in the UT System’s eight academic and six health institutions across the state.
Joseph, 27, from McKinney, is the first dental student and Indian American student regent. He is pursuing a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in the Health Science Center’s School of Dentistry. Recently elected class president for 2016-2017, Joseph is expected to graduate in May 2017.
“My main duty is to represent and advocate for the students in the UT System, from the Rio Grande Valley to the North Texas Region,” he said. “I also am interested in addressing the major issues I see facing the UT System today: affordability, the need to increase graduation rates and the need to increase collaboration between UT institutions.”
Leading up to becoming student regent, Joseph has been involved in several other statewide activities. He served as a member of the Student Advisory Council to the board of regents in 2014-15 and as chairman of the council in 2015-16. He also served on the board of regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards selection committee for two years. On campus, Joseph has been involved in numerous activities including community service, research, the teaching honors program, Delta Sigma Delta dental fraternity and the School of Dentistry’s admissions committee.
Joseph is the second UT Health Science Center student appointed as a UT System student regent. During the 2010-2011 academic year, medical student Kyle Kalkwarf was the first UT Health Science Center San Antonio student to serve as a student regent.
Joseph earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Baylor University. He plans to complete his Master of Business Administration after graduating from dental school.
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, with missions of teaching, research and healing, is one of the country’s leading health sciences universities. Its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have more than 32,200 alumni who are advancing their fields throughout the world. With six campuses in San Antonio and Laredo, the university has a FY 16 revenue operating budget of $801.8 million and is the primary driver of its community’s $30.6 billion biomedical and health care industry. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.