David Garza, the first Latin American president of the Universitas 21 Network

With this step, the doors are open to expand Tec de Monterrey's recognition at a global level and obtain more high-impact projects.
foto de david garza
David Garza Salazar, dean and executive president of Tecnológico de Monterrey, will take office next year (Photo: Courtesy of Tec de Monterrey).

David Garza, dean and executive president of Tec de Monterrey, will become, as of May 2025, the first Latin American Chair of Universitas 21 (U21), the global network of 29 universities across four continents.

The announcement took place in Hong Kong during the U21 Annual Network Meeting & Presidential Symposium 2024 on April 25th , which was attended by deans and other academic leaders from the member universities of the network.

Garza’s appointment highlights his relevance as well as the institution’s as significant players in higher education, joining a list of prominent former network presidents, including Shearer West of UNottingham; Eng Chye Tan of National USingapore; Sir David Eastwood of UBirmingham; and Heather Munroe-Blum of McGillU, among others.

As part of the process, Garza will assume, for the time being, the position of Deputy Chair of the international network with the highest concentration of member universities ranked in the Top 100 worldwide, with 65% and Top 200 with 86% (QS and THE).

During his message, Garza said that Tec will have access to more partnerships with renowned institutions, collaborate in international research and encourage student mobility.

“Being selected as president means a great responsibility, a privilege, but above all, a great pride for our country, for our region and for Tecnológico de Monterrey,” Garza stated.

The first Latin American president has a career in U21

After 18 years of Tec belonging to U21, in 2022 David Garza was invited to join its board, while at the end of 2023 he was elected by U21 members to the position of Chair.

“When I received the news of the nomination and was asked if I accepted it I realized the level at which this could benefit the visibility of our institution. Subsequently, there were the votes from each of the members of the network and the other deans, and in the end I was notified that I had been the selected candidate,” he commented.

David Garza has already served on the board of important international academic organizations, such as the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and Universitas 21 (U21). 

This has broadened the institution’s horizons by enriching its opportunities for collaboration and learning, particularly considering that Tec is already a member of other networks such as the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), CINDA, TRIADA and Hemispheric University Consortium (HUC).

As the new leader of this network, Garza will have the opportunity to impact more than 1 million students and 200,000 teachers in 19 countries within four continents: America, Europe, Asia and Oceania. 

“I feel that U21 looked towards Tec de Monterrey because of the participation we have had in the network itself. We have participated through students, researchers and staff in its various activities, in addition to having different levels of leadership in the past years” reflected the rector.

At the head of a global leadership project

U21 is a unique global network that brings together 29 leading global research-intensive universities that share a common belief in the value of collaboration and internationalization. 

Its members include: National USingapore (#8 QS), UMelbourne (#14 QS), UEdinburgh (#22 QS), UHong Kong (#26 QS), UA Amsterdam (#53 QS), UC Davis (#59 THE), amongst others.

U21’s objectives are divided into three clusters: research, educational innovation and student experience; one of its central purposes being to promote and facilitate research among universities that are highly qualified to do so.

Its initiatives and programs are designed to benefit both students and member institutions by sharing resources, learning together and designing solutions to common challenges.

According to Garza’s message, being a member of U21 and soon to be Chair is the result of the contribution to the diversity and development of the network by fellow university deans, directors and professors, as well as the active and effective promotion of the network within their institutions.

Tec strengthens its internationalization plan through the network

Tec has research agreements with more than 10 institutions and Top 200 universities in the world, while more than 50% of its scientific publications are made with international collaborations.

Likewise, the internationalization experience of the student body considers that more than 7,000 students carry out exchanges abroad, being one of the universities with the highest student mobility in the world.

Internationalization has been a key factor for Tec’s positioning in various rankings and networks such as U21 and the Global University Employability Ranking, where it is ranked 78th worldwide and 1st in Latin America in the opinion of employers around the world regarding Tec’s graduates.

“One of our priorities has to do with the internationalization of the institution and student mobility, because we want our students to have more opportunities and this collaboration gives us the opening to have new agreements, new projects and new initiatives,” Garza shared.

Establishing new international working relationships adapted to the strategic objectives of each university, participating in new educational initiatives and sharing the best practices, resources and data with allies are some of Tec’s objectives in U21 under Garza’s vision.

“We are living in a world with major changes such as AI, social and geopolitical challenges, polarization in our world and these are global issues that we can face alongside our allies. Today I had the opportunity to speak with other deans about this and we all see collaboration as key in our future,” he added.

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