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Alumni Board Looks to Deepen Bonds Between Graduates and Students

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – DECEMBER 20, 2013 – The University of Texas at Brownsville Alumni Association is reinvigorated with a new calendar year and broad goals.

The alumni board recently elected a new president, vice president and treasurer and has a new focus to increase participation and connect alumni to students. Teri Alarcon rings the bell along with other alumni board members Alexis Clynes and John Villarreal at the UT Brownsville Winter Commencement on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 at the Student Union lawn.

“It is important to have a voice at the table that represents our traditions, history, success, community, employers, alumni, students and future students,” said Bea Lopez Juarez, the board’s vice president and a unit manager at HEB in Weslaco.

The current 18-member board has a mix of familiar and new faces. Other leadership is Teri Alarcon, the board’s president and principal at Brownsville’s Hanna High School and John Villarreal, the board’s secretary and a Brownsville City Commissioner.

“It is wonderful to see this group of proud UTB alumni reunite not only to connect to our students but also make their presence known to the community sending a message that there is a place for graduates after they leave UTB,” said Angie Gonzalez, a university relations officer in the Office of University Relations and liaison to the association board. “You do not have to go far to stay connected to the university. We are here to assist them and continue to build the UTB alumni network in the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.”

Alexis Clynes is the most recent board member to receive a degree at UTB: her bachelor’s of business administration in accounting in 2012. She also earned a bachelor’s of business administration in management in 2002 and a master’s of business administration in 2009. She is a staff accountant at Hales Bradford, LLP in Brownsville and CPA examination candidate.

“I was asked to be on the board by Angie Gonzalez,” said Clynes. “She and I had previously served on a local not-for-profit board. I jumped on the invite because I love to serve others and my community when I can and I have a real ‘stake’ in this board.”

Clynes said the alumni association is a good position to connect students with internship opportunities to make the transition between learning and working as seamless as possible.

“We have also discussed the desire to aggressively get our university’s name out but seeking a greater alumni representation to help mentor our current students and to also serve as a ‘mirror’ of what they can and will be when they hold their diploma in their hand,” said Clynes.

The board will also seek from alumni their support and engagement as The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is created in fall 2015 with the merged UTB and The University of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg.

“UTRGV will create many opportunities to set the stage for our future by embracing all the great programs that have been developed at UTB and UTPA,” said Juarez. “It is history in the making.”

The Alumni Association was created in 1991.

Juarez was the association’s board chair from 2002 to 2003 and said it was important to her to help represent the success the university has with educating its students. Juarez received a bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting in 1995 and a master’s degree in business administration in 1997. She once worked with gift administration and alumni relations in UTB’s Division of Institutional Advancement before being recruited in 2001 by HEB for its School of Retail Leadership Program.

“Our stories as students and professionals have to be shared so we can exemplify the contributions we can make to the workforce due to the education we gained by attending UTB,” said Juarez. “We need to share our stories so we can encourage others to follow their dreams and invest in their education. We have a premium educational institution in our local community that offers outstanding educational programs.”

For more information on the UTB Alumni Association contact at 956-882-4337 or alumni@utb.edu or angie.gonzalez@utb.edu.

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