Wednesday, March 7, 2018
  Alumni, Announcements

By Victoria Brito

EDINBURG, TEXAS – The Latino Theatre Initiatives at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is one of 19 student organizations from 12 states to be recognized as a program to watch in 2018 by Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education is an organization that conducts research “as a tool to frame our understanding about the condition of education for Latino students and the impact of institutional practices and on their success.”

Latino Theatre Initiatives, under the advisement of Eric Wiley in the UTRGV Department of Theatre, College of Fine Arts, has been creating opportunities for Latino theatre artists and enthusiasts since 2010 by increasing the presence of the Latino theatre community.

The award-winning group produces Spanish-language theatre for children in South Texas, as well as bilingual plays, and has performed in major cities such as New York, San Diego, Houston and New Orleans.

One of its most successful plays, Pachanga: A Dance Battle Comedy, is an original piece that highlights Valley culture.

Wiley said the recognition from Excelencia will help promote the group.

“LTI being featured on Programs to Watch helps the group fundraise and pursue grants,” he said. “It provides significant validation to the organization’s innovative practices and work.”

LTI currently has 10 members, and about 40 more who participate in its theatrical and video productions. LTI also has dozens of external partners.


Since 2004, Excelencia in education has aimed to accelerate Latino success in higher education to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and civic leadership. Excelencia provides data-driven analysis of the educational status of Latinos, promotes educational policies and intuitional practices that support their academic achievement and organizes a network of professional with common cause for Latino success.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.