Bell Ring Commemorates UTB’s Past and Future
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – SEPT. 9, 2011 – The resounding timbre of a bronze bell could be heard through the halls of The University of Texas at Brownsville Thursday, Sept. 8.
UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa speaks during The University of Texas at Brownsville's 20th anniversary celebration on Thursday.
In the courtyard of the Education and Business Complex, students, faculty, staff and community members gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of UTB.
“You have a great university and it is an honor to join you in this historic moment,” said Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, Chancellor of the UT System. “You are poised for significant accomplishments over the next 20 years. History, culture and language: We have the best of both worlds here on the border, and a remarkable opportunity to pass our heritage on to the next generation.”
Following his remarks, Cigarroa and Gene Powell, Chairman of the UT System Board of Regents, were the first to ring the bell. They were joined by children of the university’s Center for Early Childhood Development.
Dr. Juliet V. García, President of The University of Texas at Brownsville, spoke about the stately cast bronze bell, c. 1850, noting that bells have played an important part in communities since ancient times.
“We chose the symbol of a bell for the beginning of this next chapter in our history – the launch of UT Brownsville as an autonomous university – not only because it was rooted in our history, but also because of the role public higher education must play at the very core of our democratic society,” García said.
Children from the Center for Early Childhood Studies help UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa (far left) and Chairman of the UT Board of Regents Gene Powell (center) ring the ceremonial bell as the University of Texas at Brownsville celebrates its 20th anniversary Thursday.
The bell will also serve as the icon for the newly established Bell Scholarship Endowment. When fully funded, the endowment will support students chosen as Bell Scholars.
“The symbol of the bell connects with our students who often come to our door with great hopes and even greater challenges,” García said, “such as the challenge of having to raise a family while going to school and the challenge of often being the first in their family to get to go to a university.”
Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. and Texas House Representative Rene O. Oliveira spoke about the university’s accomplishments and also rang the bell. Lucio and Oliveira carried the legislation that established UTB in 1991 and the legislation making UTB an autonomous four-year university during the last Texas State Legislature session.
Academic Senate Vice President Kevin Buckler, Staff Senate President David Marquez and Student Government Association President Arturo Guerra spoke briefly and rang the bell, representing faculty, staff and students.
Wells Fargo District Director Claudia Cantu-Grimaldo also took a turn at ringing the bell after she presented the university with a $10,000 check for the Bell Scholarship Endowment.
“On behalf of all the Wells Fargo team members, I am proud to make this donation to the Bell Scholarship Endowment at UT Brownsville,” said Cantu-Grimaldo. “Two of Wells Fargo’s highest priorities are education and a commitment to the communities we serve. Our contribution is truly an investment in those priorities, as well as for the future of this region.”
The University of Texas at Brownsville celebrated its 20th anniversary on Thursday.
García closed the ceremony with the presentation of a historic plaque, on display next to the stage, to be installed on the UTB campus.
“To fulfill our role as curators of our past,” García said, “we dedicate this historic plaque today so that future generations will appreciate the events that led to the thriving university they will experience in the future.”
The $5,800 American bell was paid for by members of the UTB faculty and staff. To date, donations have totaled $22,003. García invited everyone present to consider making a donation to the endowment that will benefit UTB’s future students.
For more information about giving to the Bell Scholarship Endowment, contact the Office of Development at 956-882-4324. For an opportunity to contribute online, please visit utb.edu/giving.