Francisco Cigarroa portrait

Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D, the third president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

     A native of Laredo, Dr. Cigarroa earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1979 and received his medical degree with highest honors from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in 1983.  He has completed 12 years of postgraduate training.  He was chief resident at Harvard’s teaching hospital, Massachusetts General in Boston, and completed a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

     At the U. T. Southwestern Medical Center, he established a legacy of excellence both in the classroom and on rotations.  “He was one of the greatest students I have had in 30 years of teaching,” said Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Brown, one of his faculty mentors.

     At Harvard, he received the prestigious Marshall K. Bartlett Surgical Research Award.  The award is presented to only one surgical resident per year.  "Francisco is as good a surgeon as one could ever find," said Dr. Charles Ferguson, director of the Surgical Residency Program at Harvard Medical School.  "I cannot say enough positive things about him."

     In 1995, he joined the Health Science Center faculty in San Antonio.  Dr. Cigarroa was on the surgical team that in 1997 split a donor liver for transplant into two recipients; it was the first operation of its type in Texas.  In 2000, he headed the team that performed South Texas’ first successful pediatric small bowel transplant.

     Immediately prior to his appointment as president, he served as director of pediatric surgery and director of abdominal organ transplantation.  He serves on the medical staffs of Christus Santa Rosa Hospital, Christus Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, Christus Santa Rosa Northwest and North Central Baptist Hospital, and as a consultant at Methodist Children's Hospital.

     Dr. Cigarroa is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery,  and has received a certificate in pediatric surgery from the American Board of Surgery.  He is an accomplished researcher who has published scientific papers on principles of surgery in infants and children.  His many professional affiliations include the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, Bexar County Medical Society and Aust Surgical Society.  In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Brooks Development Authority, and the McNay Art Museum, among others.

Dr. Cigarroa is a tenured professor in the Division of General Surgery and Organ Transplantation.


     Born Francisco Joaquin Gonzalez Cigarroa in Laredo on Dec. 10, 1957, Dr. Cigarroa is the third oldest of 10 children and eldest of five brothers.  Their grandfather moved to San Antonio around 1930 as the Mexican Revolution was ending and built a successful medical practice in San Antonio.  Dr. Cigarroa’s grandfather later opened a clinic to provide free health care to the indigent.

     The family moved to Laredo, where Dr. Cigarroa's father and uncle also became physicians.  The Cigarroa name has become a household word in Laredo.  A high school and junior high are named for members of the Cigarroa family.

     The legacy of service, education, and medicine continues with Dr. Cigarroa’s generation – five of the 10 children chose medical careers and all excelled academically at universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Rice, Notre Dame and Berkeley.

     Dr. Cigarroa is an accomplished guitarist in classical and flamenco music.  He and his wife, Graciela, an attorney, have two daughters, Maria Cristina and

Barbara Carisa.


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