‘Our mission is to evolve’: New STC President Meets Students
New President Dr. Ricardo J. Solis meets with South Texas College students for the first time
New President of South Texas College, Dr. Ricardo J. Solis, spent part of his first day on the job gathering input from representatives from STC’s Student Government Association, July 15.
There is no better place to be right now than in South Texas. As a vital cog in one of the fastest growing metroplexes in the nation, South Texas College has to be ready to change, adapt, and implement.
All of us can make history together.
That was a key message from new President of South Texas College, Dr. Ricardo J. Solis.
On his first day as president, Dr. Solis met with student representatives from STC’s Student Government Association (SGA) who then briefed the new president on student needs as well as perceptions of the college.
The student group included those representing STC’s Pecan Campus, Mid Valley Campus, Technology Campus, Starr County Campus, as well as dual enrollment.
“All of us here… our goal is to meet the needs of our students, and to make sure you succeed because we truly believe in the mission of the community college,” Dr. Solis said. “Our goal is to continue evolving, changing, and adapting to these needs. I am very honored to have been selected as the president of this incredible institution.”
Determined to make the meeting more of a fact-finding workshop rather than a venue to unveil his vision for the future of the college, Dr. Solis pressed SGA students about their concerns as well as experiences at STC.
“All of us here… our goal is to meet the needs of our students, and to make sure you succeed because we truly believe in the mission of the community college. Our goal is to continue evolving, changing, and adapting to these needs. I am very honored to have been selected as the president of this incredible institution.”
The new president inquired about everything from needs on the various campuses, how to best improve reaching out to prospective students, the effectiveness of social media and marketing, and improving services on campus.
“It felt good to voice our concerns on behalf of students,” said Ulises Serna, a student from Economedes High School in Edinburg currently participating in the early college program.
“I appreciated speaking with the new president to get our point across, and the fact that he was here to listen to us really made us feel like our voice matters,” Serna said.
“I tried to convey the fact that students really do struggle, but we still do our best to get the education we need even though we don’t often have the resources,” he said. “Us being able to get these questions out in the open has been the important thing to us.”
The meeting with students preceded the new president’s visit to all STC campuses as he begins his job as the college’s second president since former president Dr. Shirley A. Reed left in January after 26 years.
Dr. Solis is the former president of Laredo College in Laredo, and previously served as Executive Dean for Academic, Professional, and Technical Education at Gateway Community College, Maricopa Community Colleges, in Phoenix, AZ.
Beginning his career in economic development before returning to college to earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration – Community College Leadership from the University of Texas in his forties, Dr. Solis says he can relate to those students returning to school for want of a better life.
“The most important factor I learned after many years working with companies, organizations, and communities was that education was the bedrock,” Dr. Solis said. “Education was always the key, and the most important asset that companies need and want. These companies want to know what skills are being provided and who are the providers.
“This thinking prompted a change in my own career because I wanted to be a part of that,” he said.