Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation awards $6M grant to UTRGV

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – SEPT. 8, 2016 – The Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation has generously awarded The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley College of Liberal Arts a $6 million grant that over the next five years will help develop a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.

The clinical psychology program, once it receives approval from the UT System and appropriate accreditation agencies, will recruit highly qualified graduate students with diverse cultural backgrounds, and will educate those students to become research-oriented clinical psychologists with acquired clinical knowledge and skills specific to Hispanic populations.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said this grant is a shining example of the Valley’s support for the university and its students.

“We are grateful to the Legacy Foundation for their generosity, and value the opportunities for success this partnership will provide for so many UTRGV graduate students,” Bailey said. “Our partnership will be increasingly important as we expand this university and continue to contribute to the health-related needs of the Valley.”

Upon earning this degree, students will be qualified as clinical practitioners, working directly with mental health consumers. They also will be qualified to teach the next generation of clinical psychologists and participate in cutting-edge research.

“Mental health is a priority funding area for the foundation,” said Judy Quisenberry, grants director for the Legacy Foundation. “We hope this program bolsters our local workforce and addresses the shortage of psychologists we have in the Valley.”

Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTRGV provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said partnerships like this one serve to build not only a strong university, but also a strong community.

“Every day, we watch as UTRGV students study hard and work to improve their lives,” Rodríguez said, “We are pleased to know that the Legacy Foundation believes in our students as much as we do, and has chosen to make this substantial investment in their futures.”

Once the program is finalized, the outcomes of this grant include:

  • Creation of two mental health clinics, in which students will gain knowledge in their field and members of the community can seek help from trained mental health professionals.
  • Graduate assistantships for students in the Ph.D. program, which will enable them to integrate their instructional program with clinical practice and research.
  • Relationships between UTRGV and mental health providers in the community, which will increase access to mental health services for all Valley citizens.
  • Talented professionals in the field who are more likely to remain in the Valley and serve the area.
  • Research that will discover and innovate new methods for treating mental health issues among Hispanics, which can then be disseminated to underserved populations in the Valley and across the country.

“This grant is another example of the Rio Grande Valley investing in the future of UTRGV,” said Dr. Kelly Cronin, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “Philanthropy is a critical component of our success.”


To learn more about the Ph.D. in clinical psychology, contact Dr. Joseph Hovey, department chair of Psychological Science and principal investigator for the Ph.D. Program project, at, or call (956) 665-3329.

To learn more about the university’s partnership with the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, contact Cronin at, or (956) 665-5301; or Felipe Salinas, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, at, or (956) 665-3298.


MEDIA CONTACTS Assistant Vice President for University Marketing and Communications 956-665-2741 UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications