Monday, January 9, 2023

By News and Internal Communications

By Kelli Quin

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV has announced the Las Huellas Association Endowed Fund (Las Huellas Fund), which benefits students in the university’s College of Sciences.

The Las Huellas endowment – a gift in the amount of $500,000 – provides scholarships to students pursuing a wildlife habitat conservation career.

Dr. Kelly Nassour, UTRGV executive vice president for Institutional Advancement, said the university greatly appreciates the gift from the Las Huellas Association.

“The fund will impact our students, community and the local habitat, preserving our resources for generations to come,” Nassour said.

Dr. Vivian Incera, dean of the UTRGV College of Sciences, said the college emphasizes hands-on experiential learning and community-engaged research, advances the frontiers of science and develops innovative solutions for local and global challenges.

“We are very grateful for the endowed gift from the Las Huellas Association,” she said. “UTRGV is committed to preparing our students to solve modern society’s biggest challenges. No doubt, natural resource conservation is one of those challenges.”

Wildlife and habitat conservation courses offered to undergraduate and graduate students in the biology department focus on the controlled use and systematic protection of natural resources and sustaining biological diversity in habitats.

Interest and support for wildlife conservation education programs have grown, and the long-term goal of the partnership between UTRGV and the Las Huellas Association is to create a Wildlife Biology Institute at UTRGV.

“The gift from Las Huellas will support students and allow more to graduate with the expertise to make a difference in wildlife conservation efforts in the Valley,” Incera said. “We look forward to a long-term partnership with Las Huellas, so we can leave a permanent ‘huella’ (fingerprint, mark) on the Valley community and its unique flora and fauna.”

The Las Huellas Fund encourages student research on wildlife conservation and management and the improvement of wildlife and wildlife habitats in the Valley.

Dr. Russell Adams, a member of the Las Huellas Association board, said the organization is excited about the partnership, and “to continue our support for conservation and education efforts in South Texas with this initial endowment to UTRGV.

“As with our previous efforts supporting research for Rio Grande wild turkeys and ocelots, among others, this fund will allow further research of species critical to the region,” Adams said. “Furthermore, with new programming created by UTRGV, we will be able to create much-needed wildlife biologists and other wildlife-related human capital.”



The Las Huellas Association serves as an advocate for South Texas wildlife and for the rights of South Texas wildlife managers, landowners and sportsmen and sportswomen in educational and wildlife habitat-related arenas. The association is dedicated to educating people of all ages, especially the youth of South Texas, about the conservation, management and enhancement of wildlife and wildlife habitats to ensure the preservation of cherished resources for future generations.


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.