University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas
Rio Grande Valley
Motto Latin: Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis
Motto in English
Cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.[1]
Type Public State University
Established June 14, 2013 (as UTRGV)
Endowment $46.13 million (December 31, 2015)[2]
President Guy Bailey
Provost Havidan Rodriguez
Academic staff
1,239 (Fall 2015) [3]
Administrative staff
1,338 (as of June 19, 2015) [4]
Students 28,584 (Fall 2015)
Undergraduates 24,937 (Fall 2015)[3]
Postgraduates 3,647 (Fall 2015)[3]
Location Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, Rio Grande City, South Padre Island, Texas, U.S.
26°18′16″N 98°10′27″W / 26.304551°N 98.174165°W / 26.304551; -98.174165Coordinates: 26°18′16″N 98°10′27″W / 26.304551°N 98.174165°W / 26.304551; -98.174165
Colors Orange, Gray, Green, & Navy
Athletics NCAA Division IWAC
Nickname Vaqueros
Affiliations UT System

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is a state university with multiple campuses in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas; founded in 2013, it entered into full operation in 2015 after the consolidation of the University of Texas at Brownsville,the University of Texas–Pan American and the UT Regional Academic Health Center - Harlingen. The university has a new medical school.[5]

UTRGV is the largest university in the U.S. to have a majority Hispanic student population; 90% of its students are Hispanic, virtually all of them Mexican Americans.[6]



On December 6, 2012, the The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved a proposal to abolish The University of Texas–Pan American and The University of Texas at Brownsville, and create The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in their place. The new institution was planned to include a medical school.[7] Governor Rick Perry signed SB 24[8] into law, approving the creation of the new university in June 2013. In December 2013, the UT System Board of Regents voted to name the new institution The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

Francisco Fernandez as the founding dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine[9] Dr. Guy Bailey was selected as university president.[10]

In November 2014, the UT System Board of Regents approved the "Vaqueros" as the athletic nickname for University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. They also approved the official colors of blue, green, and orange.[11]

The university officially opened on August 31, 2015, with UT System chancellor Bill McRaven, U.S. Representative Rubén Hinojosa and state senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa attending the flag-raising ceremony.[12] McRaven said, "One hundred years from now, Texas will look back and say that this day changed Texas forever."[12]

Recent History

To honor the largest donation in the history of higher education in the Rio Grande Valley, the College of Business and Entrepreneurship was named Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship. Robert C. Vackar, CEO of Bert Ogden Auto Group donated $15 million dollars in the form of an endowment to the college.[13]


The University's property totals 550 acres. UTRGV owns 105 buildings, some of the properties include:

Current expansions

Some of the new buildings currently being built include: New Science Research Building (Edinburg), New Academic Building (Brownsville), and Medical Education Building (Edinburg).[14]


UTRGV offers 64 bachelor's, 49 master's, and 4 doctoral programs (in addition to 2 cooperative doctoral programs).[15] For the Academic Year 2015-2016, 92.7% of enrolled students came from the Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willancy counties. The ethnic enrollment is 88.8% Hispanic (Fall 2015).[14]

Colleges and schools

Eleven colleges and schools formed the academic foundation for UTRGV, including:[16]

UTRGV College/School founding
Year founded

School of Medicine
College of Medicine and Health Affairs*
College of Health Affairs
College of Sciences
College of Liberal Arts
College of Fine Arts
College of Engineering and Computer Science
Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship[13]
College of Education and P-16 Integration
Honors College
Graduate College
University College

Academic accreditation

UTRGV inherited the academic accreditation of its legacy institutions.[17] The university is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[18]

The UTRGV School of Medicine received preliminary accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education in October 2016.[19] In May 2016, the School of Medicine received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to offer a medical residency program in psychiatry.[20]

Proposed expansions

Legislation to establish a law school in UTRGV was introduced by representative Eddie Lucio III in November 2014.[21]


Main article: UTRGV Vaqueros

Mascot controversy

The choice of a new university nickname was met with some contention from members of the communities of the two merged schools.[22] UTPA supporters, the larger of the two merged schools, argued for keeping the UTPA nickname, Broncs, while UTB supporters wanted a nickname new to both merged schools. UTPA Alumni Alex Del Barrio created a petition to "Say No To Vaqueros" that garnered over 11,000 signatures after the announcement was made.[23] Several local city councils also passed resolutions in support of one option or the other.[22] President Guy Bailey recommended a new nickname, Vaqueros, to The University of Texas System Board of Regents on November 5, 2014.[24] The suggestion for Vaquero was partly inspired by UTPA student art projects, where the Vaquero and Toro were the most popular projects.[25]

Bailey also recommended school’s athletic colors be UT System orange, green (formerly the secondary color of UTPA), and blue (formerly the secondary color of UTB).[24]

The announcement to the decision generated a swift and mainly negative reaction from some UTPA supporters on social media. These supporters, displeased that the Bronc was being moved to the wayside, determined the name was culturally insensitive, racist, and sexist.[26][27] Nevertheless, the UT System Board of Regents approved the recommendation the following day,[28] making Vaqueros the fifth NCAA division I nickname that is a Spanish language word after the Cal State Northridge Matadors, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, San Diego Toreros, and New Mexico Lobos. Bailey considered the decision "final" following the approval by the board of regents.[29] About 500 students protested against the Vaquero mascot on the UTPA campus on 13 November 2014.[30] A petition calling for Bailey's immediate resignation garnered more than 700 signatures.[31] Articles of impeachment were filed against the Student Government President Alberto Adame and Vice-President Carla "Fernanda" Pena by Jonathan Lee Salinas (Senator at Large '14-'15) partly for their roles in the mascot committee, though, the impeachment process was ended due to insufficient evidence. Following the protests, the UT System issued a press release supporting the "Vaquero" decision.[32]

At the height of the controversy in November 2014, Texas legislator Terry Canales suggested he was considering filing a bill requiring UTRGV to abandon the Vaquero nickname.[29] Canales submitted HB901 in January 2015.[33] If passed, the legislation would require UTRGV to hold a student election for the athletics nickname, with "Broncs" and "Ocelots" on the ballot.

The mascot design was revealed in February 2015.[34] The logo features an orange faced rider in green on a navy blue and green horse. The logo features an outline of Texas in the negative space between the legs of the horse.[35][36]

In February 2016, Valery Leal Cerda started a movement to promote gender equality and petitioned the University to use "Vaqueras" to address women. "Vaquer@" is an alternate spelling that was suggested to include both genders in one spelling.


  1. "Seal of the University". University of Texas System. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  2. "Endowment Information". 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  3. 1 2 3 "The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley Strategic Analysis and Institutional Reporting". The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  4. "Faculty & Staff". The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  5. LaCoste-Caputo, Jenny; Adler, Karen (December 12, 2013). "Board of Regents votes to name new UT in South Texas The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley" (Press release). Austin, Texas: The University of Texas System Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  6. "2016 Fast Facts" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  7. Kreighbaum, Andrew (6 December 2012). "UT regents approve merging RGV universities, will create medical school". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  8. "Texas Legislature Online - 83(R) History for SB 24". Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  9. LaCoste-Caputo, Jenny; Adler, Karen (November 6, 2014). "Psychiatrist-neuroscientist to be founding dean of UT Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine" (Press release). Austin, Texas: The University of Texas System Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  10. Vertuno, Jim (April 28, 2014). "Guy Bailey named sole finalist for president of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Associated Press. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  11. LaCoste-Caputo, Jenny; Adler, Karen (November 6, 2014). "UT System Board of Regents approves "Vaqueros" as athletic nickname for new university" (Press release). El Paso, Texas: The University of Texas System Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  12. 1 2 Reyes, Dayna (1 September 2015). "McRaven: UTRGV will change the fabric of the Rio Grande Valley". Rio Grande Guardian. Retrieved 2 September 2015.
  13. 1 2 "UTRGV | UTRGV receives largest donation in RGV higher education history, names business college in honor of Robert C. Vackar". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  14. 1 2 "UTRGV | ata and Reports". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  15. "UTRGV | Why Choose UTRGV?". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  16. "Creating America's Next Great Major University". Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  17. "Recent Actions taken by SACSCOC Board of Trustees" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  18. "Commission on Colleges". Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  19. "UTRGV | LCME grants preliminary accreditation: UTRGV School of Medicine now accepting applications". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  20. "UTRGV | UTRGV SOM receives accreditation for medical residency program in psychiatry". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  21. De Leon, Jose (November 10, 2014). "UT-RGV law school, drug tests, texting bans on 1st day of bill filing". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Associated Press. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  22. 1 2 Solomon, Dan (September 18, 2014). "The Debate Over What The Mascot For The New UT-RGV Campus Is Getting Heated, Y'all". Texas Monthly. Austin, Texas. Retrieved October 3, 2014.
  23. Chapa, Sergio (2014-11-07). "Opponents of UTRGV Vaqueros mascot say fight isn TMt over | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KGBT". Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  24. 1 2 Brito, Victoria (November 5, 2014). "UT-RGV mascot recommended to be the Vaquero". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  25. Perez-Hernandez, Danya (November 7, 2014). "For Vaquero sculptor, UT-RGV controversy not a factor in designing new mascot". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  26. Nelsen, Aaron (November 6, 2014). "Critics: Vaquero mascot is 'culturally insensitive'". San Antonio Express-News. San Antonio, Texas. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  27. Gonzalez, Susan (November 6, 2014). "New university mascot, colors fiercely debated". The Pan American. Edinburg, Texas: UTPA – Student Publications. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  28. "UT System tweet". Twitter. November 6, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014.
  29. 1 2 Chapa, Sergio (November 7, 2014). "UTRGV President Guy Bailey fires back amid "Vaqueros" controversy". KGBT-TV. Harlingen, Texas. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  30. Perez-Hernandez, Danya (November 10, 2014). "Fight against vaquero not over for UTPA students". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  31. Espinosa, Elizabeth (2014-11-12). "Petition demands UTRGV President Bailey TMs resignation amid Vaqueros controversy | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | KGBT". Retrieved 2016-03-13.
  32. LaCoste-Caputo, Jenny; Adler, Karen (November 14, 2014). "Statement from Chairman Paul Foster, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Pedro Reyes" (Press release). The University of Texas System Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved November 20, 2014.
  33. Perez-Hernandez, Danya (January 23, 2015). "Bill seeks election for UT-RGV nickname". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  34. Luca, Greg (February 6, 2015). "UT-RGV releases official Vaqueros logo design". The Monitor. McAllen, Texas. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  35. "University of Texas System selects UTRGV athletic logo". KGBT-TV. Harlingen, Texas. February 12, 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  36. "I see you". Twitter. February 6, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.

External links

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