Wednesday, September 11, 2019
  Awards and Recognitions, Community

By News and Internal Communications

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McALLEN, TEXAS – SEPT. 11, 2019 – Dr. Guy Bailey, president of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, was named the 2019 Border Texan of the Year, for his commitment to providing students with a high-quality education at a low cost that leads to graduation and future positive outcomes.

Bailey was announced as the honoree during a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the McAllen Convention Center.

“I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected as 2019 Border Texan of the Year. This is easily the highest honor I have ever received, and I am particularly pleased because it comes from my colleagues in the Rio Grande Valley, my adopted home and a place I dearly love,” said Bailey.

Under Bailey’s leadership, UTRGV:

  • Experienced extensive success, which he credits to the hard work and commitment of UTRGV students, faculty, staff and the Valley community.
  • Currently ranked first among all Texas Universities for awarding the most undergraduate and graduate degrees to Hispanics and is rated as one of the top public universities for value. 
  • Launched a school of medicine successfully with 155 medical students, 168 residents and several hundred scientists and faculty.  
  • Added 17 new academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level staying true to UTRGV’s mission of expanding educational opportunity in the Rio Grande Valley.

“In four short years, UTRGV has worked hard to establish a footprint across the Rio Grande Valley, to deliver a high-quality education at a low cost, and to create new educational opportunities for students,” Bailey said.

“I want to thank all of our faculty, staff, and students and our partners across the Rio Grande Valley for making this happen. We have accomplished much, but we have much to do. I look forward to working with everyone.”

John David Franz, chairman of the Border Texan of the Year Committee, said Bailey, who was named the first president of UTRGV in May 2014, is well-deserving of this title as he "has transformed The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley into a first-class institution."

“The opportunity for Rio Grande Valley students to access quality higher education at a very reasonable cost is resulting in more and more college degrees being earned. We all know that when it comes to our youth, higher education at UTRGV is a goal worth pursuing and a degree from UTRGV will pay tremendous dividends,” said Franz.

Bailey will be honored at a dinner and reception to be held later this year on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center.


Since its inception, Border Texan of the Year has awarded more than $1million in funds to Rio Grande Valley organizations. The annual banquet recognizes individuals in the Rio Grande Valley who advocate for the improvement of issues important to the area, including education, funding, transportation, business, security, and health issues, and who highlights and helps pave the way for opportunities for the region. The annual banquet raises funds which are awarded to area nonprofit organizations of the honoree’s chosen charitable organization or cause.

Previous Border Texan of the Year Honorees include Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Gov. George W. Bush, Gov. Rick Perry, Congressman E. Kika de la Garza, Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Sen. John Cornyn, Charles C. Butt, Chief Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa and Bob and Janet Vackar.


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.