Friday, May 14, 2021
  Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced Friday the appointment of Dr. Michael B. Hocker as the new dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine.

Dr. Hocker, who starts his new role on June 28, holds the J. Harold Harrison M.D. Distinguished Chair in Emergency Medicine and currently serves as the senior associate dean and designated institutional official (DIO) for graduate medical education at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University. In that role, Dr. Hocker oversees 51 residency and fellowship programs. Previously, he served as the vice-chair of Operations for Emergency Medicine and assistant DIO for graduate medical education.

Prior to joining MCG, Dr. Hocker spent 14 years at Duke University School of Medicine, where he helped start what is now considered one of the country’s top emergency medicine training programs. He also earned a Master of Health Science in Clinical Leadership from Duke. In 2016, the Duke Division of Emergency Medicine honored his leadership with the naming of the Michael B. Hocker, M.D., Duke Emergency Medicine Division Leadership and Service Award. 

“We were fortunate to have a very large and diverse pool of candidates for the dean’s position,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey. “Dr. Hocker stood out from the pool because of the depth and breadth of his knowledge of the operations of a medical school and his experience with both clinical operations and medical education.”

Dr. Hocker said he is honored to be selected as dean and excited to join a fantastic group of students, faculty, and staff.

“This role is a unique opportunity to lead an evolving medical school, foster its growth and support its critical mission to improve the health of the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, and beyond,” he added. “The UTRGV-SOM will accomplish this mission through innovative educational programs, high-quality clinical care, and life and disease-changing discovery.” 

Dr. Hocker, a former Navy flight surgeon, graduated from Ft. Lewis College and earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

He said he and his family are excited about joining the UTRGV community and moving to South Texas, where they will be closer to his mother, Jean, and stepfather, Richard, who currently live in Harlingen.

“I welcome the opportunity to work closely with the Rio Grande Valley community leaders and clinical partners to improve access to health care, reduce health disparities, and train the next generation of physicians and leaders in medicine,” Dr. Hocker said.

Dr. Janna Arney, UTRGV deputy president, interim provost, and co-chair of the dean search committee, also lauded Dr. Hocker’s hire. 

“Dr. Hocker’s proven leadership will serve UTRGV and the School of Medicine well as we continue to prioritize student success and health and medical education,” Arney said.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.