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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M names new VP, COO of Higher Education Center at McAllen

Manuel+M.+Vela+will+assume+the+role+of+vice+president+and+chief+operating+officer+at+A%26amp%3BM%26%238217%3Bs+Higher+Education+Center+at+McAllen+on+May+15.
Photo courtesy of Texas A&M Today.

Manuel M. Vela will assume the role of vice president and chief operating officer at A&M’s Higher Education Center at McAllen on May 15.

Texas A&M named Manuel “Manny” M. Vela as vice president and chief operating officer of the Higher Education Center at McAllen on April 10. 

Vela will take over the position on May 15 and comes to A&M from Valley Baptist Health System, where he was the president and CEO since 2012, according to a press release from the A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications. 

In its fifth year of operation, the Higher Education Center currently enrolls 340 students and offers undergraduate programs in agriculture economics, biomedical sciences, construction sciences, education, human resource development, engineering, maritime business administration and public health. 

As a Rio Grande Valley native, Vela said he is excited to be a part of A&M’s plan to create educational opportunities for the people of South Texas. He will be based in McAllen but will report directly to President M. Katherine Banks and will focus on assisting existing leadership in three primary areas. The primary areas include operations and infrastructure for the goal of doubling enrollment by 2025, the Colonias Program which focuses on improving quality of life along the Texas-Mexico border and university collaboration with South Texas communities and other A&M System entities’ leadership in the region, according to the Division of Marketing & Communications.

The university recently announced the School of Nursing and School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences plan to expand their program at the McAllen campus. 

Vela served as the health system’s senior vice president and chief legal officer from 2003 to 2011 before becoming president and chief executive officer of Valley Baptist. During Vela’s tenure, he was involved with a variety of major corporate transactions, including the purchase of Brownsville Medical Center by Valley Baptist in 2004 and a joint venture with Vanguard Health Systems in 2011.

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