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Published on Dec 10, 2012
The University of Texas-Pan American celebrated news of The University of Texas System's historic decision to merge UTPA with The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and bring a medical school to the Rio Grande Valley Friday, Dec. 7 with a town hall meeting and reception.
UT Pan American President Robert S. Nelsen was joined by his counterpart, UTB President Juliet V. Garcia, UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa and UT Board of Regents Chairman William Eugene (Gene) Powell, as well as state and local dignitaries to address a packed Student Union Theater on The UT System's plans to create one large university that will span the entire region.
"Today is not a day to cry, it is a day to celebrate one of the greatest things to happen to the Rio Grande Valley," Nelsen said, referring to his emotional plea for support for the new university a day earlier at the Board of Regents meeting.
On Thursday, Dec. 6, The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously approved the plan presented by Cigarroa, Powell, Nelsen and Garcia.
The project, called "A University for the Americas in the Rio Grande Valley," is expected to have:
• A student enrollment of 27,659;
• Research expenditures of $11 million;
• An endowment of $70.5 million; and
• A total operating budget of $419 million.
The plan would also include establishing administrative offices in McAllen.
Regents also approved spending $100 million over the next 10 years to transform the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen to a school of medicine.
Once established, the new university could create 7,000 new jobs in the Valley and 3,000 spin-off jobs.
It would be one of the two largest Hispanic-serving institutions in the nation, both for total Hispanics enrolled and the number of bachelor's degrees awarded.