A bold new plan for advancing excellence in education and health in South Texas
Contact: Office of the President (956) 665-2741
Posted: 12/06/2012
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Dear UT Pan American Family,

I have some exciting news to share with you - news that will move us closer towards our goal of positively transforming the Rio Grande Valley. Today, Chancellor Cigarroa and the UT System Board of Regents agreed to pursue legislation during the 2013 legislative session that will unify the Valley. Rather than having competing institutions, if this legislation passes, the Valley will have one voice, The University of Texas-Pan American, The University of Texas-Brownsville, and the future Valley medical school, all speaking together as one institution for the betterment of the students in the Valley and for those who need medical attention. And just as important, incredible medical advances will result because of the research in the Valley - we are going to save lives and create jobs. The impact of the Board of Regents' initiative will not only benefit the Rio Grande Valley, but it will also make the institution one of the largest Hispanic serving institutions in the United States.

UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen and UTB President Juliet V. Garcia sit united as UT System Board of Regents approve merging the institutions and creating a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley. AP Photo/Eric Gay
If the Texas legislature approves this legislation and if the Governor approves it, the Valley will have access to funds that have, in the past, been legislatively out of our reach. As I told one legislator, we in the Valley will not only have a place at the proverbial table, we will more importantly have a plate with a meal to feed our students. And we will have a medical school in the Valley.

There are many details left to work out, but none of these amazing possibilities would be conceivable without the vision of Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, Chairman Gene Powell, and Executive Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs Dr. Pedro Reyes.

I want to invite you to a town hall meeting at the UT-Pan American Student Union on Friday, December 7th at 1:45 p.m. Chancellor Cigarroa will be there to outline his vision for the future, which will be followed by a short reception and press conference.

We are approaching a defining moment for the Rio Grande Valley, one that will be felt for generations to come. I look forward to seeing you at the town hall meeting so that we can, as I repeat in all my Mano a Mano newsletters, seguir adelante.

Read more about the UT System Board of Regents' historic decision.


Robert S. Nelsen

NOTE: The Town Hall Meeting for the University community and the public will be held at 1:45-2:15 p.m. in the UTPA Student Union Theater (Building 4 on Campus Map). President Nelsen will be joined by The University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, The UT System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell, and The University of Texas at Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia to discuss the UT System's innovative plan for advancing excellence in education and health in South Texas.