POSTED: Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 2:35pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 7, 2012 - 7:58am
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 Oliveria 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 Oliveria, 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."
Given the ongoing separation of the University of Texas of 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.