Thursday, April 14, 2022
  Awards and Recognitions

By Amanda A. Taylor-Uchoa

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV was honored as the region’s Institutional Catalyst of the Year during the Teach for America Rio Grande Valley Honor Roll Gala on Friday, April 8, at Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen.

The honor is in recognition for overall performance as a university, but especially for UTRGV’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Support systems and resources had to immediately be set in place to ensure students could continue their education safely at home.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the honor is a testament to UTRGV staff and faculty.

“Our accomplishments over the past two years would not have been possible without the resiliency and dedication of our staff and faculty,” he said. “When the pandemic hit, we made concerted efforts to change the way we delivered services to classes almost immediately, all for the benefit of our students and keeping them enrolled.”

Programs such as Tuition Advantage, Graduate Select Scholarship, and a variety of supplemental financial aid packages for each semester during the pandemic helped keep students focused on their educations despite the unprecedented challenges COVID-19 brought.

Overall, the total amount of additional financial support given to students due to HEERF and university funds totaled more than $100 million.

“During a time when the doors to higher education have been closing to many students, UTRGV continues to invest heavily in financial support to open doors and ensure an excellent higher education is attainable for any young person in the Valley,” said Ana Gonzalez, executive director of Teach for America Rio Grande Valley.

“Teach for America is proud to honor UTRGV with our Institutional Catalyst award for improving our Rio Grande Valley community through increasing college access and success,” she said.

This year’s gala honorees included Pharr Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez as Educational Champion, and McAllen ISD high school teacher Roberto Garza in Alumni Leadership.


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.