CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Southeast Missouri State University welcomed Dr. Carlos Vargas today as the 18th president of the University.
"I am very proud to have been selected as the 18th president of the University," Vargas said. "I am eager … to live up to the expectations of the students, the staff and the faculty of the institution."
Vargas will hit the ground running with his first day spent with the University's executive staff who will brief him on numerous University initiatives.
During the next couple of weeks, he also will meet with Interim Provost Dr. Gerald McDougall, members of the Board of Regents and Student Government President Peter Jacobsen.
He also plans on attending divisional retreats throughout the summer.
"I want everybody to know that I am going to do my absolute best and I am going to work very hard to make sure this institution continues on the path that it has been for a long time. I just want to make sure that we do whatever it takes to help the students be successful," says Vargas.
He says he would like the university to become more student centered in order for all students to be successful. This means hearing them directly and making sure their four years at SEMO are obstacle-free.
"We really want to make sure that we minimize the student faces in order to be able to graduate. That we are going to try really hard to make them be successful as opposed to saying, 'yes you are good enough to be here, no you are not good enough to be here. If we admit a student to the university, it means we have a responsibility," he said.
Vargas' presidency at Southeast comes after a wide-ranging search process that began following the announcement in September 2014 that President Kenneth W. Dobbins would retire effective June 30, 2015.
The Southeast Board of Regents announced the appointment of Vargas on March 4.
Vargas has been serving as acting president at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania since last July.
He previously served as the provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, and had been the school's chief academic officer since 2006.
Vargas' wife, Dr. Pamela Vargas, also begins her new duties today as the director of the Office of Research and Grant Development on campus.
She has served as executive director of the Kutztown University Research Center since 2006.
She previously served as the director of Sponsored Programs in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Graduate School of Engineering and Management at the Air Force Institute of Technology.
She also has served as the director and in several other capacities with The Graduate School, Office of Research with the University of Notre Dame.