AUSTIN – After more than a month of engagement dedicated to soliciting feedback from students, faculty, staff and community members, The University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously voted Thursday to name the new UT university The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
It is a name that reflects pride and a sense of place and history in this very important region. This new university is poised to be a major academic and economic asset, not only to the Rio Grande Valley, but to all of Texas and beyond. Its mission is one of global excellence and its goal is to transform the Valley into a hub for research and world-class education and healthcare.
Input from the South Texas community during the naming campaign was overwhelming, with the voices of more than 3,500 participants helping to inform the Regents’ decision. Social media was a large driver of the overall response. Individual Facebook and Twitter posts reached as many as 50,000 people and garnered more than 3,000 total tweets and comments. Email and phone were also heavily utilized by the community, with more than 700 emails and 200 phone calls received throughout the campaign.
Across all mediums of communication, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley emerged as the clear favorite, with the University of Texas South falling a distant second.
“The response has been outstanding,” said Paul Foster, chairman of the UT System Board of Regents. “We have heard from thousands across South Texas and from loyal alumni from around the country. We are truly grateful to have received such meaningful feedback for this important decision. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is a name filled with pride and tradition, both of which the Valley has in abundance.”
Regent Ernest Aliseda of McAllen made the motion to select UT Rio Grande Valley.
“I’m proud to be a part of this historic action and I’m proud to say that I’m from the Valley,” said Regent Aliseda.
Choosing a name is a momentous step in the process to create a new university and medical school in South Texas, and it will provide an identity to an institution focused on establishing a world class reputation built on excellence in teaching, research and healthcare, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa said.
“The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will serve as a center for transformational research and learning,” Cigarroa said. “This new university is for the families and communities of South Texas. Supporting our vision to provide the people of the Rio Grande Valley with access to unparalleled educational and healthcare opportunities, UT-RGV will truly be a beacon of light for the region.”
With a new name decided, the timeline for establishing the new university and enrolling the inaugural class by August 2015 will continue to move forward. UT System leadership will continue to engage with students, faculty, staff, community members and leaders throughout South Texas as the process of combining the talents, assets and resources of UT Pan American and UT Brownsville continues to progress.
A president for the new university will likely be named by spring 2014, and discussions surrounding administrative transition plans and academic curriculum are already under way. Decisions about school colors, mascot and athletics will happen under the direction of the new president with input from students, faculty, staff and the community.
“Our dream of creating a transformational university in South Texas is quickly becoming a reality,” said Gene Powell, vice chairman of the Board of Regents. “It is deeply gratifying to be a part of establishing a new university that will truly transform the lives of so many, making the Rio Grande Valley a destination for multinational programs in economics, medicine, biomedical sciences and more. The journey for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley officially starts now.”
For more information, visit the Project South Texas  website.