Carlos Montúfar, Ph.D. - Rector

Carlos Montufar

Carlos Montúfar is an Ecuadorian physicist who has dedicated his life to education. He studied both undergraduate and graduate at the University of Notre Dame where he obtained the Ph.D. in Physics. Carlos is a convinced of the Liberal Arts and was one of the founders of USFQ that has become, in only 31, the leading higher education institution in Ecuador. With more than 8,000 students and approximately 600 full-time professors, USFQ offers a broad spectrum of programs in all areas of knowledge including professional careers.

In 1995, Carlos was one of the founders of the Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito, which is one of the best schools in the city. Currently, the College has approximately 1,600 students and has the international Advanced Ed accreditation, which is one of the most important in the world. The Colegio Menor recently expanded to Guayaquil with the aim of having an institution with similar characteristics and prestige as that of Quito. The success of these institutions lies in the quality teaching staff, their curriculum based on Liberal Arts and the principles of their foundation that are "goodness, beauty and truth."

Carlos firmly believes that education is fundamental for development and is transcendental for the future of Ecuador. In a special way, it considers that education in science and technology is the only way to insert Ecuador in the future.

Santiago Gangotena, Ph.D. - Canciller

Santiago Gangotena

Born in Quito, Ecuador. He is the founder of USFQ, the first totally private university in Ecuador, and co-founder of the Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito.

He traveled to the United States where he obtained a B.S. in physics and a Master's in nuclear physics. He earned his PhD in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written many articles on science and education. He graduated from the American School of Quito as the best graduate in the physics-mathematics specialization and made his first painting exhibition at the age of 18, a skill that he later dedicated to graphic design. Furthermore, due to his interests in Eastern philosophies he started a yoga and meditation center. He was a professor at several universities abroad and in Ecuador for over 30 years.

A prolific writer, columnist for the newspaper El Comercio and Hoy, book writer: The Fourth State of Mind, Meditation; Logbook of Vegetarian Cuisine and co-author of the third translation of Tao te Ching directly from Chinese to Spanish.

In 1996 he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, the world's first university for international programs.

In 2009, he was awarded the highest honor that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (the oldest public university in the United States) presents to his former students for “outstanding contributions to humanity”, the “Distinguished Alumnus Award”.

In 2012, he received the “Federico González Suárez” Award, granted by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Ecuador, for educational merit in recognition of the contribution to the education of youth.

He received the "Excellent Individual from the Confucius Institute in 2015" award from the Government of China.

In 2016 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill honored him by naming 25 scholarships the name Santiago E. Gangotena Grants.

In November 2018, the Ecuadorian Institute of Political Economy awarded him the recognition of "Hero of Freedom" for his contribution to education in Ecuador under the elementary principle of Freedom.

He has been a very successful private entrepreneur, creating companies in the publishing, graphic design, and advertising branches. He promoted the construction of a highway that connects Guayaquil and Quito, La Vía del Sol.

Ximena Córdova, Ph.D. - Vice-rector

Ximena Córdova

Ximena's career has led her to have crucial academic positions that, in turn, have led her to her current role as Vice-Rector of USFQ. In the past, she has been a professor and coordinator of the Industrial Engineering career, participated in several academic committees and led internationalization initiatives within her faculty until serving as Dean of the College of Engineering for several years. Today she leads the academic section of USFQ.

Ximena obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Wichita in Industrial Engineering. Since then her research has had a focus on modeling, analysis and optimization of resources focused on the reduction of CO2 as a performance measure; especially in transport networks and urban logistics systems. One of its applications has been the redesign of the logistics system for tourist boats in the Galapagos Islands.

After years of working in banking, Ximena seeks a balance between academia and the practical. At present, it seeks to maintain an excellent teaching staff, for which it works closely with the SHIFT Center for the Advancement of Teacher Education and with constant support to the various deanships of the university.

Diego Quiroga, Ph.D. - Dean of Research

Diego Quiroga

Diego has led the research programs and international programs at USFQ for more than 10 years. His vision has led USFQ to stand out in the rankings as the No. 1 University in Internationalization in the Latin American Region (Times Higher Education). Currently, he holds the position of Vice President of Research and International Programs and also co-directs the Institute of Arts and Sciences in Galapagos, known by its acronym in English as GAIAS.

Diego obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign. His areas of research interest are Urban Ecology, Political Ecology and Medical Anthropology in regions such as the Galapagos, the Amazon, and the Andes. Diego has actively worked in research on biodiversity and vulnerability; in addition to traditional medicine in the region.

Diego firmly believes that the role of the Universities is to be part of the innovation ecosystem and that it must be connected with the needs of the communities, with the objective of forming public policy and supporting the private sector. His work philosophy is based on the Liberal Arts, which promotes the work of multidisciplinary groups; each person contributes their specific knowledge to advance research.