UTPA rally celebrates new RGV alumni chapter and donor generosity
Posted: 05/02/2013
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Cheers of "Go Broncs" rang out amid waving fan hands and pom poms at a Bronc Spirit Rally held April 26 for alumni who are also staff and faculty members at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Pictured at the Bronc Spirit Rally with UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen (fourth from left), Bucky and several Bronc cheerleaders are employees in the Division of Business Affairs, which won the Most Spirited Trophy at the rally.
Attendees were treated to music, refreshments and door prizes as they learned how they could support their alma mater and its current and future students to achieve their dreams. The Division of Business Affairs picked up the "Most Spirited" Trophy with a large contingent at the rally from their office.

"We want to build a sense of community and provide you opportunities for greater involvement in the University family," said Debby Grant, director of Alumni Relations, in her welcome. "I usually say alumni are the backbone of the University. That is true but ... we are really the heart of the University."

During her challenge for alumni to increase their participation, she announced the creation of a Rio Grande Valley chapter of the UTPA Alumni Association.

"Almost 60 percent of our alumni stay in the Rio Grande Valley. That chapter could be big and compete with other chapters around the state," she said to cheers from the crowd. "This is one way you can become involved with the University and to support the University."

Sandra Mendez, a current UTPA student and a 15-year employee at the University working as an accounting technician in the Comptroller's Office, described how the University's Angel Investor Scholarship was helping her gain a higher education. She has used the funds, supported by donations from UTPA staff and faculty, to buy books and purchase a new computer she needed to do her coursework.

"It really helps with expenses. It's hard nowadays to go to school, have a family and work at the same time," said the mother of four, whose husband works at UTPA's Physical Plant.

During the April 26 rally, UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen and Director of Wellness and Recreational Sports Travis Hughes accepted a $4,000 check from representatives from Team McAllen Cycling to support student scholarships. The bicyling group raised the money from their second annual Triathlon for Education held last November. This year's triathlon, which is open to the public, will be held Nov. 10 at UTPA.
Other students shared how grateful they were as well for the assistance they have received from donor programs like "Count Me In," which also provides scholarships made possible by contributions from alumni, students and the community.

Broncs also cheered the generosity of Team McAllen Cycling for a $4,000 check its members presented at the rally to support scholarships. The group raised the money from its 2012 Triathlon for Education, which was held on the UTPA campus. Their third annual triathlon, which includes a 400 yard swim, a 12 mile bicycle ride, and a two mile run, will be held at UTPA on Nov. 10.

"It's an opportunity to give back to the local community and also see the rewards of what we do," said Richard Clipson, the 2013 Team McAllen Cycling president.

Vice President for University Advancement Veronica Gonzales said she wants the alumni to be united and continue to "pay it forward."

"Who knows best about what we are doing here at the University to create a wealth of knowledge and wonderful things for the Valley than us who work here and see every day the quality of the students we are producing," she said.

Another rally is scheduled for May 15.

For more information on the Rio Grande Valley chapter of the Alumni Association, contact the Alumni Relations Office at (956) 665-2500. For more information on how you can support the University and its students, contact the Development Office at (956) 665-5301.

Enjoy more pictures of the event at the Bronc Spirit Rally photo gallery.