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University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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Title: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley  
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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]
Established June 14, 2013 (as UTRGV)
Type Public State University
President Guy Bailey
Provost Havidan Rodriguez
Academic staff
797 (as of June 19, 2015) [2]
Administrative staff
1,338 (as of June 19, 2015) [2]
Students 29,045 (as of August 31, 2015)
Location Brownsville, Edinburg, Harlingen, McAllen, Rio Grande City, South Padre Island, Texas, U.S.
Colors Orange, Gray, Green, & Navy
Athletics NCAA Division IWAC
Nickname Vaqueros
Affiliations UT System
Website .edu.utrgvwww

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is a state university that was founded in 2013, and entered into full operation in 2015 after the consolidation of The University of Texas at Brownsville and The University of Texas–Pan American. The university will include a new medical school.[3]


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.[4]

On June 14, 2013, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed SB 24[5] into law, approving the creation of the new university.

On December 12, 2013, the UT System Board of Regents voted to name the new institution The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

On February 14, 2014, UTRGV announced Francisco Fernandez as the founding dean of the UTRGV School of Medicine[6]

On April 28, 2014, Dr. Guy Bailey became the sole finalist for the university president position.[7]

On October 13, 2014, UTRGV announced the establishment of the South Texas Diabetes & Obesity Institute.[8]

On November 6, 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.[9]

On February 12, 2015, UT System Board of Regents approved the proposed colors, along with athletic branding and marks.[10]

The university officially opened on August 31, 2015, with UT System chancellor Bill McRaven, and members of congress Rubén Hinojosa and Juan ‘Chuy’ Hinojosa attending the flag-raising ceremony.[11] McRaven said, "One hundred years from now, Texas will look back and say that this day changed Texas forever."[11]


Colleges and schools

Eleven colleges and schools formed the academic foundation for UTRGV, including:[12]

Academic Accreditation

UTRGV inherited the academic accreditation of its legacy institutions.[13] The university is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[14]

  • When the UTRGV School of Medicine is fully accredited, a College of Medicine and Health Affairs will be formed that will include Nursing, Social Work, and Allied Health. Until that time, UTRGV will operate a College of Medicine and College of Health Affairs on an interim basis.[12]

Proposed expansions

Legislation to establish a law school in UTRGV was introduced by representative Eddie Lucio III in November 2014.[15]


UTRGV Vaqueros logo

Nickname controversy

The choice of a new university nickname was met with some contention from members of the communities of the two merged schools.[16] 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.[17] Several local city councils also passed resolutions in support of one option or the other.[16] President Guy Bailey recommended a new nickname, Vaqueros, to The University of Texas System Board of Regents on November 5, 2014.[18] The suggestion for Vaquero was partly inspired by UTPA student art projects, where the Vaquero and Toro were the most popular projects.[19]

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).[18]

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.[20][21] This of course, does not take into consideration that Vaqueros precede Cowboys in the annals of Texas history. Nevertheless, the UT System Board of Regents approved the recommendation the following day,[22] making Vaqueros the fourth NCAA division I nickname that is a Spanish language word after the Cal State Northridge Matadors, UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, and San Diego Toreros. Bailey considered the decision "final" following the approval by the board of regents.[23] About 500 students protested against the Vaquero mascot on the UTPA campus on 13 November 2014.[24] A petition calling for Bailey's immediate resignation garnered more than 700 signatures.[25] Articles of impeachment were filed against the Student Government President Alberto Adame and Vice-President Carla Fernanda Pena for their roles in the mascot committee but failed to reach a majority vote. Following the protests, the UT System issued a press release supporting the "Vaquero" decision.[26]

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.[23] Canales submitted HB901 in January 2015.[27] 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.[28] The logo features an orange faced rider in green on a navy blue and green horse. The logo features a map of Texas in the negative space between the legs of the horse.[10][29]


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External links

  • Official website
  • UTRGV Athletics

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