Texas Border Business
Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Fred Farias, III, O.D. and appointed Emma Schwartz to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) for terms set to expire on August 31, 2025. The board provides leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system.
Fred Farias, III, O.D. of McAllen is an optometrist and CEO of 20/20 Vision Care. He has served on THECB since 2015, and is currently vice chairman of the board, chairman of the Academic and Workforce Success Committee, and a member of the Texas Higher Education Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, former president of the Texas Optometric Association and the Rio Grande Valley Optometric Society, and a former member of the American Optometric Association Board of Trustees. He is a past gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Optometry Board, where he chaired the Licensing and Administration Committee. He is a lifetime member of The University of Texas (UT) System Chancellor’s Executive Committee and the UT Austin Development Board and a member of the UT Longhorn Foundation Athletic Advisory Council. Additionally, he is active in the McAllen community, serving as chair of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council and Leadership McAllen, and is a charter member of the Optometry Cares – The AOA Foundation. He previously served on several boards including those of the Vannie E. Cook Cancer Center and the Rio Grande Valley Arthritis Foundation. Farias received a Bachelor of Science from The University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Optometry from Southern College of Optometry.
Emma Schwartz of El Paso is president of the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation. She is a member of Women Corporate Directors, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and the Texas Healthcare & Bioscience Institute. She is an investor for the Borderplex Alliance and a member and former Board of Governors member of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, she is co-chair of the El Paso Chapter of Stanford University OVAL Admissions, member of Progress 321 Board of Directors, and a member and past chair of Paso del Norte Center of Hope. She is a former member of the Texas Tech University Health Science Center El Paso Founding President Search Committee, HUB of Human Innovation Board of Directors, and the La Fe Preparatory School Board of Directors. Schwartz received a Bachelor of Arts in human biology from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles.