|State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa is pictured greeting the delegation from UTPA and other visitors in the Texas State Capital rotunda at Pan American Day during the last legislative session. This year UTPA will join with UTB and UTHSCSA's RAHC for Rio Grande Valley Higher Education Day at the Capitol on Jan. 30.|
"Last session was our first Pan American Day at the Capitol. This year with the advent of the new university, the visit takes on special importance. We need to use it to rally the two-thirds vote so that we can have access to the PUF and a new medical school," said UT Pan American President Robert S. Nelsen.
In December 2012, The University of Texas System Board of Regents announced its decision to merge UTPA with UTB and bring a medical school to the Valley. The Regents also approved spending $100 million over the next 10 years to transform the RAHC to a school of medicine.
The merger requires the approval of the Texas Legislature. Upon approval, the new institution will be able to access revenues from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), a public endowment created by the Texas Constitution. UTPA and UTB previously had not been eligible for PUF funds, which can serve as a major catalyst for building a world-class research university.
Austin-San Antonio area UTPA and UTB alumni are invited to join legislators and other Capitol Rotunda visitors that day at noon to enjoy a musical performance by UTPA's award-winning Mariachi Aztlán that will have just returned from participating in the 2013 Presidential Inaugural ceremonies in Washington, D.C. UTB's One O’clock Guitar ensemble, which has won numerous top national guitar competitions and performed at the recent annual UT System Chancellor's event, will also entertain the noontime rotunda visitors.
At 1:15 p.m. there will be a celebratory photo opportunity for the RGV delegation, Valley legislators, alumni and other supporters on the Capitol steps. The Valley delegation will then depart at 1:45 p.m. in groups to "walk the halls" of the State Capitol to visit state legislators and staff members and describe how their support can transform the Valley and ensure a prosperous future for its residents and the state.
Funds from the President's Circle at UTPA will cover meals and bus transportation for students, faculty and staff who want to anticipate in the day at the Capitol. The RGV Partnership will also provide financial support for the three buses that will depart from Edinburg for Austin on Jan. 30 and return the same day. Faculty and staff interested in participating can learn more and sign up at this link. However, space is limited so registration is required by Jan. 24. Students who want to attend need to go to https://utpa.collegiatelink.net/form/start/17727 and register to participate by 5 p.m., Jan. 18.
Verizon will host a reception for UTPA Foundation Board members and other invited guests during the evening Jan. 30. The board will be conducting their quarterly meeting in Austin on Jan. 31.
For more information on the RGV Higher Education Day or special accommodations, call the UTPA Office of the President at (956) 665-2100.