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UTB Students Pleased with New University Name Chosen by Regents

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – DECEMBER 12, 2013Anticipation rose like steam coming from cups of hot chocolate and coffee at The University of Texas at Brownsville’s Casa Bella residential housing clubhouse on Thursday morning, Dec. 12 as staff and students gathered to watch via the Internet the solidification of the future of higher education in the Rio Grande Valley.

One of the attendees, Abraham Villarreal, a senior business administration – entrepreneurship major at The University of Texas at Brownsville, will graduate in spring 2014 and wants to pursue a master’s degree in business administration.


The place the Brownsville resident wants to attend to further his education is The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the name unanimously selected on Thursday, Dec. 12 by The University of Texas System Board of Regents for the combined UTB, the University of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg and a newly created medical school based in Cameron and Hidalgo counties scheduled to open in fall 2015.

Regent Ernest Aliseda of McAllen made the motion for the university name.

“I’m proud to be part of this historic action and I’m proud to say that I’m from the Valley,” Aliseda said.

Dr. Juliet V. Garcia, President of UTB, attended the Regents meeting in Austin to witness the historical vote.

“Our new name signals that moving forward, our strength is derived from a cohesive regional approach,” she said after the vote. “As UT Rio Grande Valley, we are now positioning to compete with great advantage. It is a great day for all of us in the Valley. I’m thrilled!”

Villarreal hopes the university will signal a new change for the region’s present and future students.


“UT Rio Grande Valley is fine,” said Villarreal. “It encompasses what the region is and to have the university named after this area suits it perfectly. I’m looking forward to more activities for students and hopefully starting more sports teams for campus.”​

Abraham’s twin brother, Christopher Villarreal, 23, a senior criminal justice major from Brownsville scheduled to graduate in spring 2014, said it was good to have a name that makes the university stand out from other institutions.

“It identifies us as the south Texas community,” said Christopher Villarreal. “It brings us together. I’m glad I came to this viewing. I’m one of the first people to find out what is going on with the new school.”

Christopher Villarreal said he hopes the new university can perhaps offer a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Gabby Guevara, 20, a senior history major from Brownsville, said the new name was an appropriate compromise to unite for UTB and UTPA.

“It’s been a debate among my friends,” she said about the university name. “We just wanted something to help both universities and the area. The naming was not meant to be a competition.”

Guevara wants to teach in the Brownsville Independent School District after graduation in spring 2014 and maybe return for a master’s degree.

UTB also held vote viewing parties at UTB at The Woods and Resaca Village.

The Regents will pick a president, a mascot and colors for UT Rio Grande Valley at later dates.

For more information on the new university, log on to the Project South Texas web site.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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