Wednesday, June 29, 2022
  Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley announced today the appointment of Dr. Can (pronounced John) Saygin as the new senior vice president for Research and dean of the Graduate College, effective Aug. 1, 2022.

“I am looking forward to playing an impactful role in developing and implementing the vision, programs, and infrastructure that will continue growing the Research Enterprise and expanding the Graduate College at UTRGV,” said Saygin.

Dr. Can Saygin
Dr. Can Saygin was named the new senior vice president for Research and dean of the Graduate College, effective Aug. 1, 2022. (Courtesy Photo)

Saygin joins UTRGV from The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where he served as senior associate vice president for Research and professor of Mechanical Engineering.

“In his new role at UTRGV, Dr. Saygin will guide institution-wide efforts to grow comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and collaborative graduate and research programs to advance the process of designation as an R1-Classification institution and elevate the stature of the university to improve the lives of people in the Valley and beyond,” said UTRGV President Guy Bailey.

Bailey thanked Dr. Sandra Hansmann who, for the past year, served as interim dean of the Graduate College.

“We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the entire Division of Research staff, which also did a great job maintaining operations during this transitional period,” he said.



He joined UTSA in 2006 and has held a variety of administrative roles during his tenure, including advisor to the President for Strategic Initiatives; senior vice provost for Institutional Intelligence and Strategic Initiatives; interim dean of Graduate School; and senior vice provost for University Planning.

Saygin has directed several projects funded by the Air Force Research Lab, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Defense, the Boeing Company, the Ford Motor Company, UT Health San Antonio, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and various manufacturing industries in San Antonio. He has also led regional advanced manufacturing efforts under the designation of Alamo Manufacturing Partnership.

He is the recipient of the UTSA College of Engineering 2009 Excellence in Teaching Award, the UTSA President’s 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence, and The University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2012.

Saygin received his bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on advanced manufacturing systems and automation from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara in Turkey.


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.