Charles Sorber, former president of UT Permian Basin and former interim president of UT Arlington, has been named interim president of the University of Texas-Pan American.

Sorber will serve as interim president effective Feb. 23 while a national search begins for former president Blandina Cardenas.

"Dr. Sorber's expertise and vast background have earned him a rock-solid reputation of service in a variety of administrative positions, and we are extremely fortunate to have him help guide UT Pan American in this important time of transition," said David B. Prior, UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs in a statement.

"UT Pan American is tremendously important to the region and to the UT System. We believe that the students, faculty and staff will enjoy getting to know Dr. Sorber as your combined efforts continue to move the institution to even greater distinction," Prior said.

Sorber is professor emeritus in the department of civil, architectural and environmental engineering at UT Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering.

His distinguished career in academia spans three decades. Among his previous faculty and administrative posts are dean of the School of Engineering at The University of Pittsburgh; director of UT San Antonio's Center for Applied Research and Technology; associate dean of UT Austin's College of Engineering; vice chancellor for special engineering programs in the UT System; and interim director of student financial services at UT Austin.

Sorber earned three degrees in engineering; bachelor's and master's degrees from The Pennsylvania State University and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers, has been active in the American Association for Engineering Education, and is a former president of the Water Environment Federation.

Cardenas announced her decision to retire effective Jan. 30. Paul Sale, the university's provost and vice president for academic affairs, is acting as the campus' chief administrative officer until Sorber begins his appointment. David B. Prior, the UT System's executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, said a presidential search advisory committee will be formed soon to assist the UT System Board of Regents in finding a permanent successor to Cardenas.

The University of Texas-Pan American is one of nine academic universities and six health institutions that comprise the University of Texas System, the state's largest public higher education system.

The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.5 billion (FY 2009), including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's healthcare professionals annually. With more than 81,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.