With the opening of the new UTPA McAllen Teaching Site Aug. 26, access to advanced education will now be a few miles closer for many Rio Grande Valley residents, saving them travel time and costs.
Initiated by The University of Texas-Pan American in partnership with the City of McAllen, the new 10,000-square-foot leased facility is located at 1800 South Main Street in the Main Place Shopping Center adjacent to the La Plaza Mall. A map showing the site's location is available at www.utpa.edu/mcallen.
UTPA Interim President Dr. Charles A. Sorber, who greeted the crowd of more than 100 attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony, praised the partnership with the City of McAllen to bring the project to fruition and talked about UTPA's commitment to serve and make life easier for Valley citizens.
"We are not just an Edinburg institution; we are a regional institution as we reach out to all those students who may find it difficult to get to us. So we bring us to them," he said.
Since 2003, UTPA has maintained a Starr County Upper-Level Center, which will soon have a permanent home, and the University also has a Coastal Studies Lab located at South Padre Island.
"Through this McAllen Teaching Site UTPA is working to honor that commitment of reaching out from one corner of the region to the other. From Starr County to South Padre Island, UTPA strengthens its presence and reinforces its tradition of access and success," he said.
Dr. Cynthia Brown, UTPA vice provost for Graduate Studies, said there had been a demand for a McAllen location by working professionals juggling work and family responsibilities who wanted a more convenient location to pursue advanced degrees and professional development. Approximately 200 students are already enrolled in the courses offered this fall. Both she and Sorber indicated the number of offerings will expand as demand arises.
For City of McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez, having the new site in McAllen is a win-win proposition not only for the city but for the entire region.
"This will not only affect our students but our economy. This partnership means we are on the right track and doing the right things to help our citizens have access to higher education. As we all know household income is a great measurement of economic preparedness. The higher education you have generally, the higher household income that you have," he said.
Dannenbaum called the collaboration an important investment in human capital and a community.
"This investment in human capital will pay in dividends for decades and probably centuries to come," he said.
For more information on the UTPA McAllen Teaching Site visit www.utpa.edu/mcallen or call 956/381-2071.