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Dr. García with U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa (right), Dr. Hans Mark, former UT System Chancellor (middle), and Regent Powell (left).

Honoring Leadership and Vision, May 27

Seated at brightly decorated tables under lights crisscrossing the Gran Patio at Main, supporters of UT Brownsville gathered for a festive dinner to honor Dr. Juliet V. García, UT Brownsville President; University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.; Wm. Eugene “Gene” Powell, UT System Board of Regents Former Chairman and Current Vice Chairman; and the UT Board of Regents – all staunch promoters of UTB and higher education in the Rio Grande Valley, and all instrumental contributors to the creation of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Surprising all, Cigarroa announced the creation of the University of Texas Institute of the Americas to be led by García, now in her 22nd year as President of UTB.

“Because of the incredible role that Texas is playing as a national leader in bi-cultural and bi-national studies, we need a person with exceptional leadership skills and a record of advanced achievements in higher education to help us create a presence centered in this region of our state,” Cigarroa announced.

The Celebración marked the efforts of UTB supporters to raise funds toward the newly established UTRGV Founders Scholarship Endowment, the first endowment to be created by current supporters for the soon-to-be Valley-wide university and medical school.

The evening acknowledged the continued support of patrons of existing endowments as well as the founding group of faculty and staff who launched the Juliet V. García Endowment benefitting The UT Institute of the Americas.

García was surprised when her four grandchildren walked up to the podium and each said a few words. “Our Yaya has always described her life as living a life beyond her wildest dreams,” said granddaughter Carolina Rico. “She’s taught us to dream without limits, to live a life without regret, to live a life in service of others.”

During the Celebración, García bestowed the honor of being a “Diamond Among Us” to Powell (middle) and Cigarroa (right).

“These two gentlemen have chosen to live their lives in ways that matter more for others than for themselves,” García said. “They are artists of the human spirit – and they are resilient and their work will hold enduring value across generations to come.”

The Diamonds Among Us award was established during UT Brownsville’s 10th anniversary celebration to honor the selfless actions of special people who have steadfastly advocated for the growth of higher education in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Welcome, Dr. Bailey

Formally confirmed as th​e first president of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on May 20 by the UT System Board of Regents, Dr. Guy Bailey demonstrated his enthusiasm and leadership qualities well before his first official day on the job, June 15. Attendees at his meet-and-greet sessions with the campus community expressed delight in his unassuming manner and obvious interest in answering a variety of questions.

Bailey further demonstrated his commitment to UTRGV by making a personal donation to the new UTRGV Endowment Scholarship, enabling him to host a table at the gala Celebración. At Bailey’s request, his table was filled with mostly students.

“Sitting at Dr. Bailey’s table was an honor,” said Samantha Gomez, an Early Medical School Acceptance Program student. “He was genuinely interested in our studies and our future plans. He asked about our experiences and our thoughts on certain things, and was so refreshing.”
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