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MCALLEN, RGV – Texas A&M University has announced its leadership team for the Higher Education Center at Tres Lagos in northwest McAllen.

Planning is underway for the opening of the Higher Education Center in August 2018.

Following a national search, Dr. Adolfo Santos has been appointed assistant provost of Texas A&M University. He will start July 1.

Rick Margo has joined the Higher Education Center as director of operations.

Carol Fierke, provost and executive vice president, said that, together, these two positions will provide leadership to the academic and operational aspects of facilitating the Higher Education Center.

“We are pleased to appoint these two leaders for our Higher Education Center. Together they bring a combined knowledge and skills that will ensure our early success in educating students, attracting faculty and building stronger community partnerships,” Fierke said.

Adolfo Santos


A news release from A&M said that while degree programs and faculty hiring will remain the responsibilities of home academic departments in College Station, Santos will provide coordination and facilitation for teaching and research support, student services and community leadership engagement, as well as develop and implement the initial strategic plan for the Higher Education Center.

The news release provides this biography on Santos:

Santos received his doctorate in political science from the University of Houston and his bachelor of general studies with a focus on political science from the University of Houston –Downtown. He has held academic leadership positions as department chair in social sciences at University of Houston–Downtown and as special assistant to president. He is an American Council of Education Fellow, having served under the president of California State University-Monterrey Bay in 2011-2012. His scholarship focuses on the U.S. Congress, Texas politics, Latino representation, and education issues. He has helped to develop a number of new degree programs, including a master of science in nonprofit management and undergraduate degrees in film and gerontology.

Before joining Texas A&M University, Santos was professor and dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Georgia Gwinnett College, leading more than 150 full-time faculty and 70 part-time faculty. As dean, Santos worked to increase student enrollment, retention and graduation, focusing particular attention on Latino students. Santos has played important leadership roles in strategic planning, creating new educational programs, and developing strong partnerships with the community. Santos is an American Association of State Colleges & Universities Millennium Leadership Initiative Protégé.

“I have always had great affection for the people of the Rio Grande Valley. They are known for being good, hardworking people who are committed to their communities and deserve great choices in higher education close to home”, Santos said. “The Texas A&M Higher Education Center at McAllen will deliver outstanding educational opportunities that, while rigorous, will be focused on student success.”

Santos added: “Our first priority is to continue and develop more fully supportive partnerships with our friends and colleagues in College Station, here in McAllen at the Higher Education Center and with community partners. Together, we will develop a strategic vision; creating a road map for the next five years that will lead to increased enrollment, growth in educational initiatives that meet the needs of the community, and ensuring that our students will have everything they need to be successful.”

Rick Margo


The news release states that, as director of operations, Margo will oversee facilities, coordinate with municipal and contracted services, and facilitate appropriate coordination with central university services for prospective student recruitment and community partnership and outreach.

Margo earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Texas A&M University. Following graduation, he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Small Business Administration. He joined the Texas A&M University staff in October 2002, serving most recently as the interim director of the Texas A&M University Higher Education Center. He assumed the duties of director of operations on March 1. He previously served for 16 years as director of Texas A&M’s Rio Grande Valley and Laredo Regional Prospective Student Centers.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this historic partnership to bring Texas A&M University degree programs to the Valley,” Margo said. “As an Aggie myself, this is what I believe makes Texas A&M unique in higher education, serving the state and ensuring educational choice for the next generations.”

Margo and his family are lifelong Rio Grande Valley residents. His wife Yvonne M. Margo is an accomplished business owner and together they have three daughters who are all currently attending Texas A&M University: Erika Michelle, Class of 2015; Victoria Nicole, Class of 2018; and Sarah Cecilia, Class of 2021.

He currently serves on the board of directors of the Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunity and Scholarship (VAMOS), is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Knights on Bikes-Brownsville Diocese, a counselor/mentor at the Evins Juvenile Detention Center, co-founder and member of Alpha Toastmasters Club, McAllen, Texas, City of McAllen Advisory Board and is part owner/director of Margo Ranch and RY Margo Properties.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Adolfo Santos and Rick Margo.

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