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Marc Cisneros: 1939—: Army General, College President, Chief Executive Officer

Took Command Of Texas A&m-kingsville

Following his service in Panama, Cisneros worked his way up the ranks. From 1992 to 1994, he served as the deputy inspector general for Investigations and Oversight in the Army's Office of the Secretary and in February of 1994 became commanding general of the Fifth U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He retired in August of 1996 after earning two Distinguished Service Medals. Next, Cisneros worked as a general manager of government services for Fluor Daniel Inc., a large engineering and construction contractor.

On September 1, 1998, Cisneros made history when he became the 15th president of Texas A&MKingsville. He was the first non-educator to be hired in that post, and faculty at first were leery of having a general take over the school. However, during his three-year tenure Cisneros covered a lot of ground. Raised among the cowhands, Cisneros never forgot his roots and even after becoming a general remained down to earth and approachable, comfortable around everyone from students to senators to presidents. "I have walked among the most humble and most egotistical," Cisneros told the San Antonio Express-News. "My troops always used to say, 'You don't act like a general.'" As president, Cisneros remained approachable to students and under his leadership, enrollment stabilized. He also worked to increase student retention. Freshman student retention stood at 56 percent when Cisneros came and rose to 61 percent. Cisneros also helped found an extension campus in San Antonio as well as implement a pharmacy school at the Kings-ville campus, the first professional school south of San Antonio.

Because of his military background, Cisneros was offered a chance to work in Washington, D.C. Following the November of 2000 presidential election, vice president Dick Cheney asked Cisneros to join the Bush cabinet and become Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Cisneros, however, said he had a job to finish at the university.

Cisneros completed his vision and left the university in August of 2001. However, he did not stray far from his South Texas roots. Cisneros became chief executive officer of the multimillion-dollar Corpus Christi, Texas-based John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation, a foundation that supports Catholic activities across the state. In this capacity, Cisneros has continued to positively influence the lives of young Texans. Cisneros has said his mission is to use foundation funds to promote family life and reach the poor in their homes. Cisneros also wanted to increase parental involvement in children's lives, believing this will help children become more successful and eventually lead to economic stability for South Texas.

Along the way Cisneros married Eddy Virginia Durham on November 3, 1964. They have three children. When he is not busy, Cisneros spends his free time with his grandchildren. He also has a pilot's license and likes to fly his own plane. Cisneros believes that the element of risk in flying keeps his senses sharp.



Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times, June 12, 2001, p. A1.

La Prensa de San Antonio, June 6, 2001, p. 1. San Antonio (Texas) Express-News, January 16, 2000, p. 1B.

St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, December 20, 1999, p. 1A.

U.S. News & World Report, July 30, 1990, p.32.


"Marc Cisneros Take Over Command as President of Texas A&M University-Kingsville" Texas A&M University-Kingsville, www.tamuk.edu/news/archive/arch98/september/presidente.html (June 9, 2003).

—Lisa Frick

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