A Message from the President

October 30, 2014

Dear Friends,

Please join me in welcoming four more members to the UTRGV leadership team. All will begin in their new roles on November 1, 2014.

Irv Downing has accepted the position of Associate Vice President for Economic Development and the Interim Associate Vice President for Advancement Operations. He is currently the Vice President for Economic Development and Institutional Advancement at UTB/TSC. In that role he was responsible for university marketing, web communications, news and information and institutional development activities. His economic development responsibilities included developing business incubation and community entrepreneurship programs and professional education programs. The AVP for Economic Development will report to the UTRGV Vice President for Research and will help implement programs in business and economic development that connect the university to the entire region while supporting new business incubation and research commercialization. In his interim role as AVP for Advancement, Irv will be responsible for day to day development operations which include annual giving, database management, stewardship, and alumni relations. Prior to joining the university five years ago, Irv was involved for more than twenty years in regional commercial banking and ten years in economic development and urban planning. He has extensive experience in public and private sector project development in community sustainability planning, affordable housing, business development and community philanthropy.

Veronica Gonzales has accepted the position as Vice President for Governmental and Community Relations. She is currently UTPA’s Vice President for University Advancement and oversees fundraising, marketing, alumni relations and public affairs for the university. In her new role, Veronica will be responsible for developing, advancing and maintaining positive and productive relationships and partnerships with the external community and for engaging governmental officials, bodies and agencies at the City, County, State and Federal levels via positive and ongoing dialogues. Her office will monitor legislation and public policy issues and advise administrators of their potential impact on UTRGV, create internship opportunities for UTRGV students at the local, state and federal levels and oversee several university programs designed to engage the Rio Grande Valley communities. Prior to joining the university, Veronica spent two decades building an acclaimed career as an attorney and served the Rio Grande Valley as a state legislator for eight years, four of which she was the committee Chairman of the Border & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. Veronica has served in several state and national leadership organizations and is a member of numerous local Chambers and Boards.

Ben Reyna has accepted the position as Associate Vice President for Security and Campus Affairs for UTRGV. Ben brings to the position extensive expertise in the areas of public policy, criminal justice, and homeland security. He is currently the Assistant Provost for Governmental Relations at UTB/TSC and serves as the principal point of contact for state legislators, members of the U.S. Congress and other government officials. In his new role, Ben will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight to Campus Police and Security. He will also serve as advisor to the President and others in Administration on strategic plans, special projects and objectives, act as the principal contact for key campus visitors and coordinate community and government agency interactions to further the success of the university. Before joining UTB/TSC in 2005, Ben served as Director of the United States Marshals Service in Washington D.C., the federal government’s oldest law enforcement agency. His 25-year career with the City of Brownsville Police Department included serving six years as Chief of Police. Additionally, Ben served as presiding officer of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (now TCOLE). Ben is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in Quantico, Virginia and has served as adjunct faculty in Criminal Justice at UTB/TSC. He has numerous professional and educational affiliations and has received many awards and recognitions for his distinguished service in law enforcement.

Priscilla Guajardo Cortez has been appointed as interim UTRGV Vice President Advancement, Principal and Major Gifts. She will work with UTRGV leadership in securing philanthropic support for UTRGV priorities. In her interim role Priscilla will provide direction and strategies for the major gifts, planned giving, prospect research, and corporate and foundation teams at UTB/TSC and UTPA. Priscilla currently serves as Director of Development for Special Projects in UT System’s Center for Enhancing Philanthropy in the Office of External Relations. Her primary work builds and maintains relationships with foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals to support system-wide initiatives. For the past two years she has been working directly with UTB/TSC and UTPA development leaders on collaborative fundraising activity associated with UTRGV. Priscilla previously served as an Associate Director of Development for the University of Texas at Austin focusing on major and planned gifts. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and a law degree from St. Mary’s University.

Preview the DRAFT organizational chart that details the high-level structure for UTRGV. It is of course subject to change. Now that most of the executive team is in place, the positions that will report directly to them are either already posted on the UTRGV Careers website or will be within the next two weeks. I encourage you to check the UTRGV Careers website often to review the posted positions.

Thank you again for your continuing support of UTRGV.

Guy Bailey