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Students Join Community to Witness Governor Perry Sign Historic Bill

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – JULY 16, 2013 – Stephanie Mendez, Philip Martinez and Humberto Ramos wanted to witness a historical moment when Governor Rick Perry signed the ceremonial document establishing a new university for South Texas that will combine The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas Pan American, along with establishing a medical school. 

Along with about 600 students, faculty, staff and members of the Brownsville community, the three UTB students joined the celebratory atmosphere at the event held in the Texas Southmost College Arts Center on Tuesday, July 16. 

“I think this is a great blessing for the Rio GrandeValley that will give the community an opportunity to prosper,” said 20-year-old Mendez, a junior accounting and marketing major from Alamo. “This new university will offer a great education for students and will help create a better quality of life for residents of the Valley.” 

Martinez, a 20-year-old junior psychology major who is focused on a career in counseling, said he knew the new university would be a boost to the South Texas economy and help create job opportunities in the region. 

Ramos, a 19-year-old sophomore, said he is especially interested in the creation of a local medical school. Among the few students admitted to UTB’s Early Medical School Acceptance Program [EMSAP] that will take him to study at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Ramos said he is pleased to know more doors to medical professions will be opened to local students in the future. 

Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa, Chancellor of The University of Texas System, spoke of the new university as a “work in progress.” He said part of the planning process will include town hall meetings for members of the UTB and UTPA campus communities, as well as residents of the RGV, to be held over the next several months. 

The Chancellor said the new university would be admitting its first students in the fall of 2016, and he was hoping a name for the institution would be decided by the end of this year. 

Governor Perry said he felt strongly about including his support of creating a new UT System university in his State of the State address. 

“Today is a milestone on the Valley’s journey,” Perry said, giving recognition to those who came before who “planted flags” and established the foundation for the creation of the new university. 

To learn more about the new university, go to

Humberto Ramos, Stephanie Mendez and Philip Martinez wanted to see history in the making when Gov. Rick Perry signed the bill to create a new university for South Texas.




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