2016: UTRGV completes blockbuster sophomore year

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 29, 2016 – From its first cohort of medical students, to the naming of its business college, to a football feasibility committee headed by Mack Brown and an international prize for a physics discovery, UTRGV’s second year of operations was packed with student and faculty accomplishments that highlight the ongoing success of the university community.

“This has been a busy, productive year for UTRGV,” said Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTRGV provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “The unprecedented support we’ve received from donors, the awards our students and faculty have received, and a first-year retention rate that is higher than the state average, all shows that people believe in UTRGV and the great things this university is doing and will continue to do.”

The year began with a generous donation of more than $2 million from auto dealership magnates Robert and Janet Vackar for scholarships. UTRGV benefitted further from their philanthropy in May when the couple committed another $15 million in perpetuity to benefit the university’s business college. In appreciation of their kindness, UTRGV renamed its business college The Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Other 2016 highpoints include:

  • The UTRGV School of Medicine welcomed its charter class this summer with a lavish White Coat ceremony.
  • Construction of a $54 million academic building on the Brownsville Campus.
  • The Math and Science Academy expanded from Brownsville to the Edinburg Campus.
  • UTRGV formed a committee to explore the possibility of starting a football program, naming football great Mack Brown to head the committee.
  • UTRGV received millions more in donations from PlainsCapital Bank and Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation.
  • And the Gender and Women’s Studies Program received a $68,000 NEH grant that will help enrich faculty and program development.

Those are just a few highlights of UTRGV’s sophomore year. You can read more stories heralding the young university’s eclectic achievements below.


Vackars give more than $2 million to UTRGV

Vackars give more than $2 million to UTRGV for scholarships

UTRGV’s Mathematics and Science Academy expanding to Edinburg Campus in fall 2016

Father-son student team creates fitness app for gaming enthusiasts

International group of archaeozoologists holds first meeting in United States at UTRGV

Book of poetry by UTRGV grad student Amalia Ortiz drawing national praise

UTRGV graduate student gets her feet wet with blue carbon research, during NOAA internship

UTRGV partners with City of Weslaco and WEDC on entrepreneurial hub project


Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years after Einstein’s Prediction

UTRGV marketing chapter named finalist in AMA Collegiate Case Competition

UTRGV Office of Sustainability hosts statewide participants at SPI for annual TRACS Summit

Gravitational Waves Detected 100 Years after Einstein’s Prediction

UTRGV announces $1M gift from PlainsCapital Bank for scholarships

Mack Brown to chair UTRGV’s football feasibility study committee

UTRGV awarded $4.2 million from THECB to expand Graduate Medical Education


The Academic Building

Four UTRGV A-PRIME TIME student teams present posters at Innovations Conference

UTRGV’s fall 2015 student enrollment ranks high in UT System and statewide

UTRGV Society of Physics Students named ‘Outstanding Chapter’

UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science expands Brownsville Campus offerings

UTRGV PA team wins state Medical Challenge Bowl, headed for national bowl in May

UTRGV celebrates launch of $54 million Academic Building on Brownsville Campus

UTRGV welcomes 42 new residents in 2016 School of Medicine Match


Carolyn Elizabeth Cuevas, a senior lecturer in the UTRGV College of Health Affairs, has been recognized as a Fellow by the Texas Public Health Association for her ongoing work on disaster epidemiology and the public health. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

Added Dimension: UTRGV chemistry department grant will fund 3D printers

Expansion of Rehabilitation Services program to Brownsville is big draw for students

UTRGV professor receives Community Service Award from NAHRO Texas Chapter

UTRGV senior lecturer named Texas Public Health Association Fellow for work on crisis epidemiology

UTRGV students judged on research projects, service learning efforts, at Engaged Scholar Symposium, Brownsville Campus

UTRGV Engaged Scholar Symposium, Edinburg Campus, highlights student research, service learning, creative works


First UTRGV Math and Science Academy graduates prepare for next exciting chapter

UTRGV and UHF hold symposium to address healthcare disparities and access

UTRGV Spring Commencement in Brownsville marks first full academic year

UTRGV grants first Distinguished Alumni Awards in special ceremony

UTRGV receives largest donation in RGV higher education history, names business college in honor of Robert C. Vackar

UTRGV School of Earth, Environmental and Marine Sciences (SEEMS) awarded NSF grant

UTRGV grant from AXA Research Fund will support study of flood risk in Valley colonias


The UTRGV School of Medicine welcomed its second cohort of medical residents.

UTRGV provost receives national award for advocacy of workers’ rights, humanitarian issues

UTRGV physics team among scientists to share Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

UTRGV College of Health Affairs gets $1.5M grant to run clinics, aid underserved areas

UTRGV School of Medicine welcomes second cohort, 42 newest medical residents


The UTRGV School of Medicine Founding Faculty and the Charter Class of 2020 pose for an official group photo to conclude the White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, July 23, 2016, at the UTRGV Performing Arts Center on the Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

Year-old UTRGV ranks third in UT System on Forbes Top Schools list

UTRGV SOM Class of 2020 don white coats for first time, during meaningful ceremony

UTRGV, UHF unveil Unimóvil mobile health clinic

USDA grant to UTRGV nurtures new scientists to address food challenges

Texas First Lady to inaugurate RGV Nonprofit Business Summit


UTRGV’s Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program selected as Examples of Excelencia finalist

Student’s research at National Water Center will lead to a more weather-ready nation


BikeShare Rio Grande Valley, a program proposed by four UTRGV students in a class taught by Dr. Elizabeth Heise on shared and alternative transportation models, is managed by Zagster and makes available to students, faculty, staff and the public 85 cruiser bikes found at stations on the Brownsville, Edinburg and Harlingen campuses. Stations also are available at various locations in Brownsville and Harlingen that have partnered with the university to offer this service. The station shown here is on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

Pedals to the Metal: UTRGV students help put bike sharing program in high gear

Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation awards $6M grant to UTRGV

Large DOD grant to UTRGV will purchase cutting-edge equipment for research

The Rocket Launchers at UTRGV soar high at international competition

T Rex named Sue joins UTRGV in celebrating 15th anniversary of HESTEC

UTRGV begins collaboration with Starr County with health promotion event


Girl Power

Corporate leaders at HESTEC 2016: Be confident, follow your dreams, help others

Girl power rules third day of HESTEC 2016

UTRGV biology major earns first place for her research poster on Zika virus

UTRGV Math and Science Academy celebrates expansion to Edinburg Campus with ribbon-cutting, reception

International Ties: UTRGV COEC signs MOU with university in Thailand

UTRGV, DHR, City of McAllen tout improved healthcare, economic impact, at research facility groundbreaking

UTRGV highlighted in 2016 Sustainable Campus Index

Region’s top business leaders honored at UTRGV Vackar COBE lunch


UTRGV Compass Leadership Academy helps light the path to a post-military career

UTRGV School of Nursing receives CCNE accreditation

Eight students achieve UTRGV’s first Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certifications

Veterans Honor Tree begins its tradition at UTRGV

UTRGV launches search for new dean for School of Medicine


The UTRGV College of Engineering and Computer Science has been awarded a $1.25 million grant by the Department of Energy to house the South Texas Industrial Assessment Center, the only IAC in the UT System. Shown are UTRGV College of Engineering & Computer Science faculty involved in the project: (from left)

UTRGV COEC awarded $1.25M DOE grant to establish Industrial Assessment Center

AASHE designates UTRGV International Center for Sustainability Across Curriculum (ICSAC)

UTRGV Gender and Women’s Studies Program receives $68K NEH grant

New historical trail signs erected in Brownsville mark Valley role in American Civil War