Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at The University of Texas-Pan American, took on a new role recently to further advance the University's commitment to community engagement.
"This opportunity to become a member of the EEDC is one of those where you lead by example and to work quite extensively on making The University an engaged university which allows us to become a connected part of the community which UTPA interacts with on a regular basis," Rodríguez said.
As a board member, Rodriguez will attend board meetings and vote on key issues regarding job creation and social, cultural and economic development of the community.
Rodríguez will also visit with potential business investors and consultants who work in collaboration with the city, as well as facilitate and attend joint meetings with the University and the city's key officials.
"All of these types of commitments involve effort and time and I am very pleased to do so for the development of the University and our community. We need to do what we can to enhance and strengthen those partnerships," Rodríguez said.
The EEDC plays a key role in assisting companies to expand, while helping to attract new business and industry to Edinburg. It also serves as an advocate with state and local governmental entities.
With the immense growth that will occur as a result of the recent merger of UTPA and The University of Texas at Brownsville and the creation of a medical school, Rodríguez said he will stand as an essential link between the EEDC, UTPA and the new university as well as with the Valley and the state of Texas.
"This will enhance and expand the role that I play in the EEDC and with the role the EEDC plays in the formation of the new university and the leadership of the elected officials with the city of Edinburg," he said. "We believe we should always strive, as UTPA, to serve the entire Rio Grande Valley and beyond. We work across the Rio Grande Valley in a variety of initiatives such as education and economic development, with ties to local government and industry. The new university will serve to build and expand the strength of that and much more."
Rodríguez credits both the University and the EEDC as a great combination in the way they work hand-in-hand as the city of Edinburg prepares for UTPA's transition into a new and much larger university and economic powerhouse. "This new university will have an impact on the economic well-being of the Rio Grande Valley. That ties in nicely to our role with the EEDC as the role of the EEDC is to create jobs, create employment, and impact the quality of life, while our responsibility at UTPA is to create and develop students with the skills, knowledge and education that can benefit from opportunities," he said.
Agustin "Gus" Garcia, executive director of the EEDC, is enthusiastic about the addition of Rodríguez to the board and believes the new university will have a major impact on the Valley's growth and potential future.
"It's important for UTPA to understand and interact with our local business community as Rodríguez's position with EEDC is key to understanding the impact these changes will have on the region's growth," Garcia said. "The EEDC is one more avenue for the University to embrace. The business communities across the region tout the University for the assets it brings to the table. Large employers and potential prospects want to see that an institute of higher learning exists. UTPA meets that requirement and more."
For more information, contact the EEDC at (956) 383-7124 or visit their website at www.edinburgedc.com.