The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

UTRGV School of Medicine

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King Jr., 1967

It is just days away. As we move forward toward the opening of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, I thought of that quote from Dr. King. The dream is finally here – Aug. 31 is around the corner, and we will be UTRGV.

It was people taking action – just as Dr. King advocated and as so many in the Rio Grande Valley have done – that has brought UTRGV to fruition. His speech’s focus was on desegregation, and while we use it in the context of racial, ethnic, sexual and religious groups, the core concept is to become open to all. That is what UTRGV is about – an opening, bringing opportunity and hope for all in the Valley.

In the same quote, Dr. King reminds us to make good use of our opportunities by always pushing forward, no matter what. And that is up to us – motivation and resiliency are key. One half of this equation is syntonic with the Valley – it’s called ganas. Many mistake the other half of the equation for the passive notion of enduring hardship. Not at all the case!

Resilience is much more than that. It is what helps us face life’s most common trauma – failure. In Boston, I had a poster in my office with Babe Ruth’s quote: “You can’t beat the person who never gives up.” In 1927, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs, but over 22 seasons, he struck out 1,330 times. Still, he was never afraid to swing the bat or hit, and that is true of just about every other Yankee great – like Mickey Mantle, Derek Jeter, A-Rod and Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. In fact, Reggie has his own quote: “I feel that the most important requirement in success is learning to overcome failure. You must learn to tolerate it, but never accept it.”

How does one do this? Some people erroneously think resilient people must lack the capacity to feel stress-distress symptoms. But that’s not the case. Jackson’s quote speaks to this: It’s also not just about self-confidence, engaging in reasoned action, cognitive flexibility, or learning to manage strong emotions. Having strong and supportive relationships are of help, creating a sense of belonging.

But that does not necessarily yield positive purpose and resiliency. So, what do all of these point to?  Doing your best and doing what is right in order to thrive – even in the face of adversity – is what resiliency is all about. And isn’t that what President Bailey espouses when he asks us to help build the future together? Absolutely!

As we listen to these very different, but memorable, people, we must always remember to keep moving forward and keep our eye on the future.

As we regularly say at the UTRGV School of Medicine, “Adelante.”

Go ahead ... UTRGV is here to get you where you want to be!