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Project South Texas - UTPA & UTB Celebrate Birth of a New University

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7-17-2013

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Governor Rick Perry joined The University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, several key Texas legislators and more than a thousand students, parents, educators and community leaders from across South Texas today to celebrate landmark legislation that authorizes the creation of a new UT university, which will include a medical school, in the Rio Grande Valley.

The ambitious initiative -- approved by the Board of Regents in December, supported by Governor Perry in his state of the state address and made possible by a bill that garnered overwhelming support from the Texas Legislature this spring -- promises to transform South Texas by providing limitless opportunities in education and economic growth and improving healthcare for millions of Texans. The goal is for the university -- with a focus on biliteracy, bilingualism and biculturalism -- to build a world-class reputation and pursue global excellence in teaching, research and healthcare.

"This new university and medical school will forever transform the lives of our children and grandchildren," Chairman Powell said in his comments to crowds in Edinburg and Brownsville. "And in large measure fulfill the dreams of those who have come before us and wanted the best for this part of Texas."

Governor Perry and UT leaders visited the campuses of UT Pan American in Edinburg and UT Brownsville where the governor ceremonially signed copies of Senate Bill 24, the legislation that authorizes the creation of the new university. The university will combine the resources and assets of UT Pan American and UT Brownsville and the future South Texas School of Medicine into a single institution that spans the entire Rio Grande Valley. The UT Board of Regents has approved spending $100 million over the next decade to accelerate the pace of establishing the school of medicine.

The new university will also have access to the Permanent University Fund (PUF), a public endowment established in 1876 by the Texas Constitution, bringing that important resource to South Texas for the first time. The PUF receives revenues from land in West Texas and earnings on investments to support institutions in the UT and Texas A&M systems. UT Brownsville and UT Pan American are the only UT System institutions that, by law, have not had access to PUF revenue.

"This historic new university is a game-changer for South Texas, a cutting-edge, high-tech institution that will improve the quality of jobs, and quality of lives, for everyone in the Rio Grande Valley," Governor Perry said. "It will mean new doctors to treat South Texas patients, new startups utilizing discoveries made in the Valley and new opportunities for Texans all across our state. This is one of my proudest moments as Governor of Texas."

Chancellor Cigarroa provided information on next steps for the new university in his remarks at both campuses. A UT System transition team that includes UT Brownsville President Juliet Garcia and UT Pan American President Robert Nelsen will immediately begin planning and development for the new university. The Board of Regents will soon launch a national search for a president, with the goal of selecting a president in early 2014.

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.MP4, 01:11:52, youtube.com/watch?v=oUq7EewtE1A

Project South Texas - UTPA & UTB Celebrate Birth of a New University

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