The Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company of McAllen and The University of Texas-Pan American will refresh the taste buds of people across the Rio Grande Valley as both institutions unveiled the special commemorative UTPA 75th Anniversary Celebration bottle Wednesday, Sept. 25 at the International Trade and Technology Building.
The University's 75th anniversary logo will be featured on more than 50,000 eight ounce contour glass bottles - which will be sold in the Rio Grande Valley.
"We don't do a special commemorative bottle just for anybody; it really has to be a special occasion, and certainly the 75th anniversary is a very special occasion," said Carlos Ramos, area vice president for Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company. "The contour shape for us is all about excellence and quality, and the University logo is obviously about excellence in education so the two go hand in hand."
The Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company also plans to install 30 vending machines throughout the Valley promoting the University.
"The bottle and the vending machines are meant to heighten the awareness of the 75th anniversary of this institution and to indirectly encourage someone to say that, 'I want to get a higher education and UTPA is a place I want to go,'" Ramos said.
A UTPA 1984 business graduate, Ramos said the power of a higher education makes a big difference in people's lives, just as UTPA has made a difference in his life.
For me, this is a special place and lining up our bottle, our product, with this University is a win-win," Ramos said.
Some of the proceeds collected from the sale of the bottles will benefit the University Scholars Program, said Roland S. Arriola, vice president for External Affairs - the division that worked with Coca-Cola to develop the commemorative bottles and vending machines. University Scholars provides full four-year, tuition and fees scholarships to qualified incoming freshmen.
"University Scholars is just one of the many scholarship opportunities our partnerships allow us to offer students," Arriola said. "I am so pleased that this partnership has allowed the University to not only receive special recognition via the commemorative Coca-Cola bottles - which are destined to become collector's items - but it also helps support deserving students."
Valley Coca-Cola contributes more than a $250,000 annually to Valley schools, Ramos said. Coca-Cola and Valley Coca-Cola Bottling have supported UTPA programs and events for more than 10 years. Since 1990, the Coca-Cola Foundation has contributed more than $100 million to educational institutions. In 2001, the Coca-Cola Foundation donated $50,000 to the University Scholars Program at UTPA. Recently, Coca-Cola donated $100,000 to the UTPA Bronc Athletic Foundation, to be paid in 10 annual installments.
Coca-Cola also is a major sponsor of the Hispanic Engineering, Science and Technology Week (HESTEC) - which will run Oct. 14-17 at UTPA, said UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez.
"I really appreciate what Coca-Cola has done for us," Nevárez said. "This is a great event and I'm looking forward to additional partnerships with Coca-Cola."
Attending the unveiling were Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company representatives Ramos, Kyle Yeary, cold drink sales manager; Lee Guerra, Valley branch manager; Antonio Castillo, youth marketing account manager; and Marcelino Corona, youth marketing representative.
UTPA officials included Nevárez; Arriola; Dr. John Edwards, vice president for Enrollment and Student Services; Jim Langabeer, vice president for Business Affairs; and several University Scholars scholarship recipients and 75th anniversary committee members including honorary chair Margaret McAllen and campus chair Dr. Martha Tevis.
The yearlong anniversary celebration, which runs through August 2003, will feature various events and activities on and off campus. The main event will be held Saturday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Today, UTPA is home to more than 14,000 students and 1,500 faculty and staff members.
Since it opened, UTPA not only has increased its enrollment and academic offerings but also broadened its role and scope to become the gateway to higher education for thousands of Rio Grande Valley residents.