Special to the PRESS
The University of Texas Board of Regents unveiled an approved plan Thursday in Austin that will merge the University of Texas Pan American, the University of Texas at Brownsville, and the Regional Academic Health Center in Harlingen as a single institution to increase educational opportunities in South Texas, and more rapidly develop a Rio Grande Valley medical school while leveraging increased state and federal funding.
State Rep. Rene Oliveira who is drafting legislation to create the new institution hailed the plan as the right thing at the right time.
“The UT Regents and Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa have taken a giant step to give South Texas what it truly deserves. The new legislation will provide a statutory framework to get it done,” said Oliveira, chairman of the House Committee on Land and Resource Management. “Universities and their medical schools are proven to bring prosperity to the areas they serve. The more we grow them, the more we grow opportunities for our children, and improve the quality of life in our communities.”
Oliveira pointed to increasing Texas oil and gas revenues that will help to fund the new institution which is intended to have access to the Permanent University Fund the wealthy energy-based revenue mechanism which provides funding for many of the state’s universities.
Further, given the ongoing separation of the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College, the plan should provide a faster infusion of potential funds for the development of a new UT Brownsville campus. The plan will also eventually expand doctoral programs, enhance distance learning and international partnerships, and create new South Texas research opportunities.
“It’s a creative idea that pools our existing resources and makes us stronger as a region,” said Oliveira. “As we face growing budget uncertainties at the state and federal levels we have to create greater efficiencies. This will achieve that goal.”
Read this story in the Dec. 6 edition of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.