On September 30, 2019, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, PhD, '73 CLAS, officially began his tenure as the new Administrator of the Panama Canal. A 1973 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a degree in Mathematics, Dr. Vásquez takes over for the departing administrator, Jorge L. Quilano, at a critical time in the Canal’s history. On the precipice of the 20th anniversary of Panama assuming control of the Canal, which will be marked on December 31, 2019, it is in the midst of unprecedented growth.
“Just a few months short of the 20th anniversary of the transfer of the Canal to the Panamanian people, we face a distinctly different reality today,” said Administrator Vásquez.
After graduating from Villanova, Dr. Vásquez’s path led to several other stops in the academic world, and eventually to successful tenures in the public and private sectors. He earned a Master of Science in Economics from North Carolina State University, as well as an MS in Operations Research and Statistics and a Ph.D. in Managerial Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His professional career took him back to his native Panama, where he held a number of roles in capital market management and financial consulting prior to this appointment, highlighted by a seven-year stint in leadership with General Electric. His career in the public sector included various positions focusing on the Canal, including Chairman of the Panama Canal Board of Directors from 2004-06.
Throughout his career, Dr. Vásquez has remained engaged with his alma mater and rooted in the values it espouses. From 2010-2014, he parlayed the expertise built over the course of his diverse career into his involvement with The Elenore and Robert F. Moran Sr. Center for Global Leadership in the Villanova School of Business as a lecturer and advisory council member.
As Dr. Vásquez takes on this challenge, the breadth of knowledge and experience built throughout his career has prepared him for this opportunity. Of the road ahead, he added, “This new global reality, in which the Canal operates, requires us to redefine and adapt our business. We must face this challenge with intelligence, courage and imagination.” Villanovans around the world take pride in igniting change—and Dr. Vásquez is a leading example.