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UTPA, community welcome UT-RGV
Posted: 12/12/2013
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Members of The University of Texas-Pan American community are warming up to the new name for the institution once it unites with The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB): The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

A student from Santiago Garcia Elementary School in Edcouch holds a sign announcing the name The University of Texas Board of Regents approved for its new university in the Rio Grande Valley Dec. 12, 2013. The University of Texas-Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville will unite to form The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley come Fall 2015.

"It's what I put on the survey, so I'm fine with it," said Juan Moya, a junior at UTPA. "The one I had chosen on the survey is what was chosen, so I'm cool with it. So I guess I'll graduate under the new one (name)."

Moya joined fellow students, UTPA alumni, faculty, staff and members of the community in crowding in front of two large television screens set up at the UTPA Student Union to view The University of Texas System's Board of Regents Dec. 12 meeting to learn what the board decided to call the new university. The announcement was simultaneously broadcast at UTPA and UTB.

Once everyone heard what the institution will be called, they, led by UTPA cheerleaders and mascot Bucky, began chanting "UT-RGV!"

Although he would have loved to have the new university named UTPA, senior Matthew Garcia, a Student Government Association senator and former student body president, said he liked the new UT-Rio Grande Valley name.

"That name fits what the (UT) System was trying to go with. It fits with that unifying influence that we are trying to go for so I am happy with it," said Garcia, a biology and political science major.

Like Garcia, Mario Delgado, a senior who is majoring in psychology, would have liked the name to stay UTPA, but he is fine with the name chosen, and in fact, had selected UT-RGV in a survey taken earlier before that did not have UTPA as an option. He remains ambivalent about how the new name will sound once it takes effect in Fall 2015.

"How are they going to cheer that at basketball games," he asked.

Junior Johnathan Salinas, a psychology major, wasn't as joyous with the new university name.

"I guess it was the most bipartisan but UTPA has a strong tradition, history and identity which has helped put the Valley on the map," he said. "More than anything it (this name) was meant to appease UTB. But it is what it is."

UTPA students, alumni, faculty and staff, as well as members of the community celebrate the announcement of the name of the new university, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Dec. 12, 2013. The new name will take effect when the new institution opens its doors in Fall 2015.

Junior and fellow psychology major Paula Fernandez, shared Salinas' displeasure of the new name.

"It's too long," Fernandez said. "I just wanted it to stay UT Pan Am. It's only one letter longer, but I just feel like it's too long."

Felipe Salinas, a grant writer in the Division of University Advancement at UTPA, called it a great choice and is eager for the new university to move forward.

"It reflects who we are as a region and sets the stage for great things to come for our students and our future medical school students," Felipe Salinas said.

Augie Lozano, an Edinburg resident and a public relations manager for the Bert Ogden Group, was among many Valley community members present at the announcement eager to hear the news. He praised the decision.

"It is fantastic. Why? Because it is the Rio Grande Valley," Lozano said. "Finally we are going to get recognized all over the United States and the world as UT-RGV."

UTPA Vice President for University Advancement Veronica Gonzales said she was thrilled the new university finally had a new name, which she described as an appropriate one.

"This name is really going to unite the entire region and the Rio Grande Valley. This new university has already united our community in so many ways. This new name is just going to solidify that," she said.

See more of the excitement of this new chapter in the University's history in this photo gallery.

Read more of the evolution of UT Rio Grande Valley at the Project South Texas website.