Newsmaker Breakfast Series hosts UTRGV President Guy Bailey

 PHOTO 1 - UTRGV President Guy Bailey - Newsmaker Breakfast Series 8-27-15

UTRGV Founding President Guy Bailey addressed a packed house Thursday, Aug. 27, at The Monitor’s Newsmaker Breakfast Series at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The event offered an opportunity for the public to hear from Bailey and get the latest updates on the new university, set to open Monday, Aug. 31. 

McALLEN, TEXAS – AUG. 27, 2015 – Guy Bailey, founding president of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, has put more than 37,000 miles on his pickup truck since July 1, 2014, driving from one end of the Valley to the other to ensure a stellar Aug. 31 launch for this distributed university.

“We are ready and we are excited about it, too,” Bailey told an audience of South Texas dignitaries and residents on Thursday, during the kickoff of the second season of The Monitor’s Newsmaker Breakfast Series. The interview format series is a partnership between the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and The Monitor and is sponsored by IBC Bank. Bailey was interviewed by Monitor Editor Carlos Sanchez.

For Bailey, the trips across the Valley are worth it, as it all will lead to success for everyone involved in the creation of this new, one-of-a-kind university that will include a School of Medicine – from students to the community in general, he said.

“It is also rewarding because we understand that our mission is Valley-wide,” Bailey said.

UTRGV is primed to welcome more than 28,000 students – more than originally predicted – and classes already are staffed with more than 1,000 full-time faculty who will be teaching across the region. Faculty hiring is ongoing, Bailey said, and he expects to hire an additional 90 faculty in the next round of hires.

“That is almost a 10 percent increase in faculty, by the way. If you’re a president, you know that very rarely do you get to hire that many faculty in a year. So we are very pleased with what we have been able to do this year, and we look forward to next year,” he said.

In addition, UTRGV plans to offer close to 5,000 courses this fall, a 300-course increase from last fall when both legacy institutions – The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College and The University of Texas – Pan American, offered a combined 4,723 active courses.

The UTRGV School of Medicine, currently awaiting accreditation and on schedule to open in fall 2016, is one of only a handful of medical schools to be created in the country in this decade, Bailey said.

“Universities that have medicals schools are a lot more prestigious than those that don’t. So the prestige of the institution automatically goes way up. The kind of faculty you can attract when you have a medical school will make a big difference. We will have people apply from all over the country. I think we will have an enormous impact,” he said. 

The University of Texas System Board of Regents recently approved a $478 million budget for the new public university and the School of Medicine, Bailey said, and he expects that in 10 years, UTRGV should have a budget close to a billion dollars, especially when the medical school is up and running. That all translates to more money coming into the Valley.

Bailey, at turns humorous and introspective, said his job as president of UTRGV is the most significant thing he has ever done.

“I’ve had a real good career in higher education, and everything I wanted to achieve, I was able to achieve,” he shared. “But I have never done anything that will have the significance or the impact of what we are doing here.”

Sanchez said the hour-and-a-half Q&A session with Bailey had record number of attendees.

“I believe this is the largest crowd we have had for an event like this. I think it’s because everybody in the community is looking to see what happens, and everybody in the community recognizes the historic nature of the opening of UTRGV,” Sanchez said.

“I think they wanted to get a sense of, and perhaps a preview, of what to expect,” he said. “I think Dr. Bailey candidly delivered on that.” 

 PHOTO 2 - Sanchez and Bailey - Newsmaker Breakfast Series 8-27-15

Monitor Editor Carlos Sanchez (at left), editor-in-chief of The Monitor, interviewed Dr. Guy Bailey (at right), UTRGV founding president, during the launch of the Newsmaker Breakfast Series, Thursday, Aug. 27, at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. The event offered the public a chance to hear from Bailey and get an update on the new university, set to open on Monday, Aug. 31. 

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