Robert S. Nelsen, president of the University of Texas-Pan American, stood alongside Dr. Shirley Reed, president of South Texas College, as they were honored Aug. 7 at the Good Samaritan Community Services ("Good Sam")-RGV's Third Annual Celebrating Community Commitment event for the contributions both have made to improve the quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley.
"We have chosen to honor two great examples of community leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty in their profession by not only doing a great job running UTPA and STC but by reaching out to the community. Through their partnership with each other they have helped countless students achieve their dreams. And, through their partnership with Good Sam, they have helped the children in the program understand the importance of higher education," Contreras Garza said.
Good Sam, which began in San Antonio in the 60s and organized locally with a Pharr chapter in 2009, is a nonprofit organization that provides activities and programs to foster positive development and growth in at-risk youth ages 6-12 years old. Both UTPA and STC students have served as program volunteers and mentors for students in the Good Sam programs. During the Celebrating Community Commitment dinner, held at the Pharr Events Center, guests were able to learn more about the organization's activities and successes and participate in live and silent auctions to raise funds to support the organization's programs.
Nelsen hailed Good Sam's work to help at-risk children to be successful in school and pointed out the positive results that can occur from collaborations between UTPA, STC and community organizations such as Good Sam-RGV and other stakeholders.
"The University is here to help people get an education. We are here to make sure they have an opportunity for a good future. Good Samaritan helps make that happen - partnering with them, partnering with STC, that makes it happen. We are trying to give people the opportunity to have a good life. It's an honor to see that there are so many people here who care about education and kids here in the Valley. I use a word that I have used many times since I came to the Valley - it is amazing," he said.
Both Nelsen and Reed were presented with framed artwork done by Good Samaritan program participants.
You can also view a video regarding this honor for President Nelsen.