Friday, May 24, 2019
  Announcements, Awards and Recognitions

By Letty Fernandez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY – UTRGV is one of 20 universities and colleges selected by Excelencia in Education as a finalist for the Seal of Excelencia.

Excelencia in Education, the nation’s leading organization dedicated to ensuring and accelerating the success of Latino students, announced the list of institutions after a thorough review process.

The Seal of Excelencia is a voluntary certification to recognize institutions intentionally serving Latino students for success based on leadership, evidence-based practices, and the use of data.

Excelencia Logo
¡Excelencia in Education!

“We are extremely excited and honored to have been selected as one of the finalists for the Seal of Excelencia by Excelencia in Education,” said Dr. Patricia Alvarez McHatton, UTRGV executive vice president for Academic Affairs, Student Success, and P-16 Integration.

“Student success is central to our mission at UTRGV, and the three core areas determined by Excelencia to more likely lead to Latino student success – data, practice, and leadership – align with the work we, collectively, are doing at UTRGV.” 

Dr. Luzelma Canales, UTRGV senior associate vice president for Student Success, prepared the 15-page application submitted to Excelencia in Education.

“It is exciting to be selected as a finalist,” Canales said. “Excelencia in Education has been a longtime partner with our legacy institutions, our community colleges, and now with UTRGV in promoting what it means to serve Latino students. We are proud to work with them on highlighting how we support our Latino students to help them succeed in meeting their educational goals.”

According to the Excelencia in Education website, “The Seal signals that an institution has developed a comprehensive and systemic approach to accelerating Latino student success and seeks to raise the bar by which institutions are evaluated with regard to serving Latino students.”

Intended outcomes listed include significantly increasing the percentage of Latino students who attain degrees by 2030; growing the number of institutions that achieve the Seal by concretely showing improved ability to help Latino students succeed; raising awareness and action to accelerate Latino student success; influencing policy discussions about how to help institutions of higher education better serve Latino students; and building consumer demand within the Latino community to enroll in institutions that demonstrate success in serving Latino students.

The list of finalists also includes UT System institutions UT El Paso and UT Arlington.

Institutions receiving the Seal of Excelencia will be announced June 20 in Washington, D.C.

For the list of institutions selected as finalists visit 

To learn most about Excelencia in Education, visit,


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.