UTPA's future for the arts inspire a symphony of giving
Posted: 06/13/2013
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The harmonious blend of piano and woodwinds and a vibrant plea from The University of Texas-Pan American President Robert S. Nelsen to support the upcoming Academic and Performing Arts Center (APAC) resonated with longtime supporter Wanda Boush during a recent benefit concert featuring renowned pianist Dr. Yu-Chi Tai and The UTPA Wind Quartet at the Edinburg City Auditorium.

Philanthropist Wanda Boush donated $5,000 toward UTPA's Academic and Performing Arts Center. Pictured from left to right are: VSO Music Director and UTPA Professor of Music Dr. Peter Dabrowski, UTPA Vice President for University Advancement Veronica Gonzales, UTPA Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities Dr. Dahlia Guerra, Boush, UTPA Major Gifts Officer Alicia King, UTPA Director of Planned Giving Cecilia Johnson, UTPA Public Affairs Representative Anjam Chaudhary and UTPA Associate Vice President for University Advancement Lydia Aleman.

"After I heard UTPA President Nelsen speak at the concert's intermission about the importance of a permanent center for the arts at UTPA, I knew I just had to help out with this wonderful plan for the recital hall in the performing arts center," Boush said. "It will benefit our students, our faculty, and everyone in the community."

With 91 percent of the overall funding raised for the APAC, UTPA is moving forward with raising $4 million in private funding to add a new recital hall. Due to budgetary constraints at the State level, the recital hall was originally eliminated from construction plans.

However, UTPA has decided a recital hall is an invaluable part of the educational experience for the fine and performing arts students at UTPA and for the arts and culture of the Rio Grande Valley.

Just as it takes an orchestra to play a symphony, VSO Music Director Dr. Peter Dabrowski said he understands the importance of collaboration to promote the arts in the community and is committed to helping UTPA with the recital hall. The VSO, which was a sponsor of the event, donated concert proceeds to the future APAC set to open fall 2014.

"We would not be able to achieve our goals without the incredible support of our sponsors and our devoted team. These individuals truly care and want the Valley to have the best," Dabrowski said.

Dr. Yu-Chi Tai, an assistant professor of piano at The University of Texas-Pan American, performs at the benefit recital chamber concert at the Edinburg City Auditorium.

Among many of the generous sponsors are Mr. and Mrs. John and Carmina Beaman, owners of The Bridges, an assisted living home in Edinburg and Mission.

"I am not a music expert by any means," John Beaman said, "but I support the arts and find it fascinating that our residents, most of whom suffer from Alzheimer's, have never forgotten the sound of music. This has given my wife and me such an incentive to contribute our support."

Dabrowski, Boush and VSO Vice President Suzanne McDonald were honored at a UTPA reception and presented with a graphic rendition of the APAC recital hall as a token of appreciation for their contributions and friendship.

Vice President for University Advancement Veronica Gonzales thanked the VSO and Boush for their commitment to the arts at UTPA.

"It is our belief that the APAC will give the community the opportunity to become the cultural epicenter for South Texas," Gonzales said. "The University setting is the perfect place for our partnership with the VSO because it combines academics and the arts and invites the community to experience new and exciting forms of artistic expression they may have not experienced otherwise."

To learn more about the new APAC and the future of UTPA arts, or to become a sponsor, contact the Division of University Advancement at (956) 665-5301 or email or visit