News

85 years young Sept. 9: Happy birthday UTPA!
Contact: Office of Public Affairs (956) 665-2741
Posted: 09/09/2012
Share |

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh had just become the nation's hero for completing the first non-stop solo transatlantic flight in an airplane and New York Yankee Babe Ruth made his record-breaking 60 home runs in a season.

Since Sept. 9, 1927, the day UTPA was born as then Edinburg College, more than 70,000 students have graduated with college degrees.

Calvin Coolidge led the nation as it suffered through its greatest national disaster ever - the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. However, unemployment that year was at 3.3 percent and federal spending topped out at $2.86 billion. Americans were able to buy the new Model A Ford for $385 and mailed their letters with a two cent stamp.

And on September 9 of that year, a transformation began to take place in a small Rio Grande Valley city that continues today.

The doors opened that day to Edinburg College - a two-year community college governed by the Edinburg School District and overseen by the district's superintendent of schools H.C. Baker.

It began with 200 students, about 20 to 30 teachers, many of whom also taught in area high schools, and facilities that included an administration building, a science building and an industrial arts building as well as a library. The initial value of the buildings and equipment was $1 million.

Today that college - now The University of Texas-Pan American - is part of one of the nation's largest systems of public higher education and encompasses over 300 acres, has more than 19,000 students, boasts nearly 800 faculty members, and has graduated more than 70,000 students. It has and will continue to transform this Valley and the lives of its people.

Eighty-five years have passed but on this day, we celebrate its birth and its mission that was offered on its dedication day, Sept. 9, 1927, that still rings true today:

"Edinburg College is dedicated to. . . bringing higher educational advantages to every young man and every young woman of the Valley, and to serving the mature citizenship of its territory."

Happy 85th birthday and Semper Porro - Forever Onward - UTPA!

NOTE: Join UTPA's students who will host an official celebration of the University's founding at their Founder's Day picnic on Nov. 3. More details to come later.