FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/30/2013
RIO GRANDE VALLEY HIGHER EDUCATION DAY AT THE CAPITOL
This morning, students, staff, and Board Members from the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Texas at Brownsville descended upon the Texas State Capitol to celebrate the first-ever Rio Grande Valley Higher Education Day. The group was led by UTPA President Dr. Robert Nelsen and UTB President Dr. Juliet V. Garcia.
Over 100 individuals from both universities participated in the event and were recognized with a resolution in the House Chamber by Representatives from the Valley Delegation. After the House convened, Legislators preceded to the Capitol Rotunda where UTPA's award-winning Mariachi Aztlán performed for visitors, sharing the rich culture of the Rio Grande Valley.
Students and Staff from both universities spent the remainder of the afternoon visiting with Senators and Representatives, sharing their stories, experiences, and hopes of legislative approval for the proposed UTPA and UTB merger which, includes a medical school, creating access to the UT Systems Permanent University Fund (PUF).
"Rio Grande Valley Higher Education Day is a great way for our fellow legislators to better understand the impact Higher Education has in our region," said Representative Oscar Longoria. "Having each of the students and staffers visit personally with members of both the House and Senate gives our cause a face, a story, and a tangible approach wherein they can personally see and understand how our respective communities are looking forward to both an increase in funding and approval from the legislature to merge a new UT Systems University with a creation of a medical school."
Students and Staffers from UTPA and UTB met with Representative Longoria in the afternoon to discuss their concerns regarding Higher Education in the Valley. He was visited by: Lucero Ramirez (UTPA), Virdiana Zuniga (UTB), Oscar Margain (UTPA), Shimin Cen (UTPA), and Billy Johnson (UTPA). During the meeting, students urged Representative Longoria to support a merger between the two universities.
"The students and staff I met with are hoping for a new university," Longoria said. " I reassured them that this is our goal (entire Rio Grande Valley Delegation) during this session, and that educating students in South Texas is one of my top priorities."