UT Summit to Explore Potential of Rio Grande Valley on Oct. 5 - 6

BROWNSVILLE – Local, state and national leaders from various sectors will converge on the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville Oct. 5-6 for a conference to discuss the contributions of the Rio Grande Valley to the economy of the region and the state.

Called the Vista Summit, the two-day conference, hosted by UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., will bring together experts in education, industry, economic development, policy, health, government and philanthropy to engage in a dialogue on enhancing the vitality of the region and ensuring the vibrancy of the community for future generations.

"The UT System recognizes the critical role the Rio Grande Valley has in Texas, and that a strong commitment to ensuring the economic vitality of this region is absolutely essential to keeping the state's workforce healthy and Texas as a whole vibrant," Cigarroa said. "We understand that by capitalizing on the rich resources the Rio Grande Valley offers, we can work with a host of partners to enhance dramatically the region's ability to impact the state's and the nation's economy."

Among the featured speakers will be Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institution, who is a national expert on the role of small cities and communities in serving as economic engines; and Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Syracuse University, who is a renowned expert on the powerful influence universities have on cities and their role in contributing to a community's advancement and prosperity.

Besides the featured speakers, other panelists include local and national health experts, educators and key leaders of philanthropic institutions such as the Ford, Lumina, Gates, Meadows, Michael and Susan Dell and Greater Texas foundations. Additional panelists will include students, alumni and parents, and teachers, who will offer perspectives on the summit's topics. Evan Smith, CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, will moderate the panel discussions.

A complete list of speakers, panels and other information about the summit is available at www.vistasummit.com.

Reporters wishing to cover the event in person are encouraged to contact the UT System Office of Public Affairs at (512) 499-4363.

Out-of-town reporters may watch the panel sessions on Thursday (Oct. 6) via a live webcast.

About The University of Texas System
The University of Texas System is one of the nation's largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.1 billion (FY 2012) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 215,000 in the 2011 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With roughly 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.