Carlos Montúfar, Ph.D. - Rector


Carlos Montúfar is an Ecuadorian physicist devoted to education throughout his whole life. He studied undergraduate and graduate programs in the University of Notre Dame where he earned his Ph.D. in Physics. Carlos is a Liberal Arts firm believer and was one of the founders of Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ, the top university in Ecuador after just 30 years of foundation.

In 1995, Carlos was also one of the founders of Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito (Elementary, Middle and High School) recognized as one of the best in the city. The school has over 1,600 students and owns the AdvancEd accreditation, one of the most important in the world. Recently, a new campus in Guayaquil was opened with overwhelming acceptance. The success of these institutions lays over the quality of their teachers, its curriculum based in Liberal Arts and the foundational principles of “Goodness, Beauty and Truth.”

Carlos strongly believes that education is essential for development and transcendental for the future of a country. Particularly, he considers that education in science and technology is the only way in which a country can move into the future.

Santiago Gangotena, Ph.D. - Chancellor


Santiago Gangotena is the founder of the first private university of Ecuador. Universidad San Francisco de Quito was named after the capital of Ecuador. It opened its doors the 1st of September 1988 with 122 students, 12 full time professors, and $25 in the bank. Only 26 years, QS University Rankings ranked it #1 in Ecuador and #68 in Latin America. Santiago also cofounded Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito, one of the best K to 12 schools and many other companies and nonprofits. He is the main shareholder of Hospital de los Valles in Cumbayá where the School of Medicine is located. He promoted the building of a highway between Quito and Guayaquil and was a strong supporter of the process to dollarization in 1999.

He received a B.S. in Physics and a M.S. in Nuclear Physics from Auburn University, and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance from UNC-Chapel Hill. As a professor, he has taught and teaches Mathematics, Physics, Oriental Thought, Tai Chi, Yoga, Entrepreneurship, and Culinary Arts in Ecuador, Puerto Rico and the United States. He has created courses like the Socratic Seminars, a 3 semester sequence (The Being, The Being and the Cosmos, and The Cosmos) and designed a required for all course called Gastronomic Culture that covers 6 culinary regions of the world where the student learns etiquette and culinary arts of those regions, and a required course in Oriental thought called Introduction to Self-knowledge.

The whole academic and administrative concept of the university is due to his vision and practical mindset to make it, in only 25 years, become the only university with undergraduate and graduate programs accredited A by the Ecuadorian government, and in 28 years the number 57 in Latin America and number one in Ecuador according to QS University Rankings.  It has the largest by far library of Ecuador (1.2 million titles), the largest international exchange program of the region, receives 1000 foreign students and has about 250 students abroad. It has the only Ethnic Diversity Support Program where more than 400 students (2016) represent all the 14 indigenous groups of Ecuador, and has the largest number of PhD’s in the university system. About 45% of the students receive financial aid.

His interests and pursuits run from painting (3 exhibits), graphic design (Citibank, Banco Pichincha first Ecuadorian bank plastic card, Pfizer launching of Feldene, first cigarette boxes designed in Ecuador for Reynolds, the logo of the American High School in Quito and Colegio Menor, all the advertising for the 28 years of Universidad San Francisco, the Paul Bocuse first Alliance cookbook, the national coins of Ecuador after dollarization, etc.) to architectural design of houses and the University. He wrote weekly columns for the newspapers El Comercio and Hoy. He has written a book on vegetarian cuisine, a best seller on how the mind is formed, the book The Fourth State of the Mind: Meditation, and is the co-translator of the Tao Te Ching, third translation directly from Chinese to Spanish, and at present is preparing a textbook on Electromagnetic Theory.

He was invited to give the Commencement Address at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, received a Honorary Doctor’s Degree from Kalamazoo College in Michigan, received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from UNC-Chapel Hill, and in 2015 was honored with a medal by the Vice Prime Minister of China for the first Confucius Institute of Ecuador. In 2016, the most popular Ecuadorian magazine, Vistazo, ranked the university number 10 amongst businesses. The 11th of October of 2016 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill named 25 need based scholarships Santiago E Gangotena Grants.

Santiago considers himself a libertarian, artist, designer, scientist, chef, and yogi.


Ximena Córdova, Ph.D. - Vicerector


Ximena’s trajectory started with roles that have proven to be crucial in understanding her current role as Provost of USFQ. She has been both a Professor and Chair of the Industrial Engineering Department, participated in Academic Committees and led internationalization efforts within the Engineering School; which led her to become the Dean for various years. Today, she is the Chief Academic Officer at USFQ.

Ximena obtained her Ph.d at University of Whichita in Industrial Engineering. Her research has focused on modeling, analysis and optimization of logistic systems using CO2 emissions as a performance measure; with a focus on Estimation of GHG emissions for supply chains in emergent markets using Network Transport Methodology. Applications include proposed redesign of the logistic systems for tourism ships on the Galapagos Islands.

After years of working in the Banking Industry, Dr. Cordova looks to balance academia and practice in the every day. She looks to have a robust, excellence-based faculty, for which she closely works with our teaching and learning center called SHIFT and continuously works with Deans to create a strong communication network.

Diego Quiroga, Ph.D. - Dean of Research


Diego has led research and international programs at Universidad San Francisco de Quito USFQ for over 10 years. His efforts and vision have ranked USFQ as the No. 1 University for Internationalization in the Latin America Region (Times Higher Education). Currently, he is Vice President of Research and International Programs as well as Co-director of the Galapagos Academic Institute of Arts and Sciences (GAIAS).

He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His areas of research interest are Human Ecology, Political Ecology, Medical Anthropology in regions such as Galapagos, Amazon and the Andes. Diego has done research on topics that range from Biodiversity vulnerability to religion and traditional medicine.

He is a firm believer that universities should be part of the innovation ecosystem and be connected in order to help shape policy and support to the private sector. His working culture is also based in Liberal Arts which is why he promotes multidisciplinary teams work together, each contributing with their expertise in research opportunities.