UT System Proposal Garners Unanimous Support from Civic and Business Leaders
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – DECEMBER 20, 2012 – Civic and business leaders across the Rio Grande Valley have come together in support of the University of Texas System’s proposed new university for South Texas that would merge The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas – Pan American and create a medical school.
Dr. Robert Nelsen, UTPA President, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, UT System Chancellor, Dr. Juliet V. García, UTB President and Gene Powell, UT System Chairman, strike a pose signifying unity and determination when the UT Board of Regents’ proposed university was announced.
The Cameron County Commissioners’ Court unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, Dec. 20 to support the proposed university. The day before, the United Brownsville Coordinating Board also affirmed its full support on Wednesday, Dec. 19 with a similar proclamation. The United Brownsville Coordinating Board is comprised of Brownsville Independent School District, Texas Southmost College, The University of Texas at Brownsville, the City of Brownsville, Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation, Brownsville Community Improvement Organization, Brownville Public Utilities Board and Brownsville Navigation District.
“Once in a great while, we have the individual and collective privilege to make a difference, to have our voice count in important work,” said Dr. Juliet V. García, President of UT Brownsville. “This is one of those times. I am sincerely grateful to each individual member of the Board of United Brownsville and of the Cameron County Court for their unanimous support of the establishment of a new UT university in the Rio Grande Valley.”
Civic confirmation of the combined university/medical school model also came from the Hidalgo County Commissioner’s Court on Tuesday, Dec. 18, when the court unanimously approved its resolution of support.
On Dec. 6, 2012, the University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously approved a plan to merge UTB and UTPA and include the creation of a medical school as a part of the new unified university for the entire Rio Grande Valley/South Texas region. The new school would be funded through the Permanent University Fund of the UT System, previously unavailable to UTB and UTPA. Greater funding, increased educational opportunities, an expanded research focus, along with a medical school, would establish the second largest Hispanic serving institution in the nation.
The proposed university would have campuses in Brownsville and Edinburg; the medical school component would be located in Harlingen, and the administration would be located in McAllen.
Estimates indicate the proposed new university would create about 10,000 high-paying jobs. A bill to consider approval of the merger and proposed university will be submitted to the Texas legislature for the upcoming session beginning January 2013 in Austin.