By Ashley Festa
Welcome back to the San Antonio campus, Marcos Fragoso! The UIW alumnus took over as vice president for International Affairs on June 1, following the retirement of Dr. Pat Watkins.
Fragoso, ’96 BBA and ’07 MBA, is not new to higher education administration; he worked as director of Centro Universitario Incarnate Word (CIW) in Mexico from 2004 until accepting his current position at UIW’s main campus.
“I’m very excited and very happy about this opportunity,” Fragoso said. “I think we can make wonderful things happen.”
When he became director of CIW, he faced quite a challenge. The school was facing a dwindling student body and high financial loss. Under his leadership, it grew into a university with nearly 400 students and more than 12 percent profit margin.
“There are different stages for universities,” Fragoso said. “In Mexico, we were at one stage when I got there, and now it’s at a different stage with revenue. It can explode and grow. We have a name now in Mexico City.”
As he steps into the VP position at UIW, he has large shoes to fill as successor to Watkins. They are both confident of his ability.
Watkins hired Fragoso as CIW director in 2004, and he took the lead from that point, she said. She acted as his connection to UIW, but the building of that institution came from his efforts. Now she entrusts to him her legacy at UIW and hopes that he will expand it in a similar way.
“People ask me if I’m worried Marcos is going to change things, and I say ‘No!’” Watkins said. “Marcos will change things that need to be changed, that I would change if I were going to be here. There is no better choice for this position.”
Already, he has a long to-do list for his new post, but first he’s doing some evaluation. He and his team in International Affairs will assess UIW’s initiatives in other countries to see which are working well. Those he plans to continue, and others might change.
“The next step is to try to open new markets for enrollment,” he said. “I would like to see more interaction with Incarnate Word San Antonio and CIW and also more contact with our sister schools.”
Among his other priorities is encouraging more students to participate in the study abroad program to experience different cultures and broaden their worldview. Since 2004, the number of students participating has fluctuated from as few as 56 to as many as 169 in the faculty-led program and from 35 to 57 students in independent study abroad ventures. Fragoso would like to see the number become more consistent and grow even higher.
Fragoso, a native of Mexico City, has a lot on his plate. Not only is he moving to a new country and taking on the role as vice president, he’s also working toward a doctorate in UIW’s International Education and Entrepreneurship program.
“I know the size of the challenge,” he said. “All my life I’ve liked challenges. I like to stay busy.”
Taking over as director at the Mexico campus will be Matthew Whitehouse, who has been a faculty member in the CIW business program for the past three years and has more than 20 years of experience in education.
“Mexico is going to have a new person, and that’s going to be good for the institution,” Fragoso said. “People have different skills and can bring different things.”
Though he will be UIW’s youngest vice president at only 39 years old, Fragoso emphasized that age is unimportant.
“You work, and you do your best. You share your ideas, you work with people and you make things happen. It’s not a matter of age; it’s about doing the job,” he said. “The goal is to help students and benefit the university. We should work as a team toward that goal. I’m here to work with everyone.”
But he also understands the old adage about all work and no play. So he’s determined that the division of International Affairs will remain a great place to work.
“I think we’re going to have a lot of fun,” he said.