Fall 2023 Commencement

  Wednesday, December 13, 2023
  Around Campus, Student Spotlight, Academics, Athletics

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 13, 2023 – For some people, education is a necessity. For Jonah Goldberg, senior associate athletic director of Communications and Championships with UTRGV Athletics, it’s a passion.

Goldberg is graduating from the inaugural Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, which included full tuition and fees covered by UTRGV for 76 university employees who completed the program.

This is Goldberg’s second master’s degree through UTRGV’s Accelerated Online Program, known as AOP. In 2019, he earned his first master’s in business administration.

Goldberg decided this unique opportunity would further his skillset and his understanding of how the university works from the inside. 

“We knew we would be learning from leaders at our university, like Dr. Magdalena Hinojosa and President Guy Bailey,” Goldberg said. “It was super cool to take those classes. I also thought this was unique, in that all my classmates are going to be current UTRGV staff and faculty, and that's rare.”

That unique class demographic made it easier to connect the course material and even further understand how the university works, he said.

Jonah Goldberg and wife Elizabeth Goldberg, associate professor of practice in the UTRGV School of Integrative Biological and Chemical Sciences, with daughter Chaya, 7, and son Phillip, 4 at UTRGV commencement in Fall 2019. (Courtesy Photo)


Goldberg and wife Elizabeth Goldberg, associate professor of practice in the UTRGV School of Integrative Biological and Chemical Sciences, are parents to daughter Chaya, 7, and son Phillip, 4. While Jonah was earning this degree, Elizabeth also was in a program and still is, pursing a doctorate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education from Texas Tech University.

Balancing family has been an organized flow for the Goldbergs. Jonah ensured his wife that he would still show up 100 percent for the family. And prior to beginning the degree, he promised her nothing would change in his dedication to them.

“I would still do all homework, dinner, baths, and I would just do all of my classwork after the kids go to bed,” Goldberg said. “That made it a little harder because it gave me less time, and there were days I had to do work after hours for the athletics department. So that would lead to some longer nights. But, somehow, I found a way to pull it all off.”

He said the secret to keeping things going when two parents are studying is to share calendars.

“We have each other's calendars in our phones, and we're just organized about what the other person has to do,” Goldberg said. “I knew her projects and deadlines and she knows what my game schedule is. We're very open with each other and we know where the other person is and where we need to be able to help each other.”

Elizabeth said that, from swapping articles to providing each other feedback on their schoolwork, the navigation was stressful at times, but they found joy in supporting each other.

“Despite his demanding job and the rigorous accelerated master's program, he never once broke his promise to help with the household chores,” she said. “That made it possible for me to focus on my own studies. “His dedication to his work, his family, his love and support, have been a source of inspiration for me and our children. I am incredibly proud of him for achieving this milestone.

“This degree is a testament to his passion and dedication to helping student-athletes develop, not only on the field or court, but also in terms of academics, job skills and character,” she said. 

Jonah’s supervisor – Chasse Conque, vice president and director of UTRGV Athletics – said he is proud of Jonah as he completes this second master’s degree at UTRGV.

“Jonah is one of the hardest working individuals I know, and he continues to find ways to balance all his responsibilities and endeavors,” Conque said. “We are excited for him as he achieves yet another milestone, and we are grateful for his many contributions to UTRGV and Vaqueros Athletics.” 


When Jonah takes the stage on Saturday at the Bert Ogden Arena, his wife and children will be in attendance to see him get his diploma. Both children were present for his first master’s degree, but they are old enough now to actually remember seeing their dad walk the stage. 

“That's really big for me, because one of my earliest memories is watching my dad walk across the New York University stage when he finished his Ph.D. I remember it so well,” he said. “It meant a lot to me, seeing how important it was to him, watching him work on it. I hope it has the same impact on my children.” 

As homage to his late father, Paul, and his proudest professional accomplishment, the Goldbergs named their son Phillip David – a play on Ph.D.

Jonah urges students wishing to pursue this degree in higher education to “absolutely do it.”

“I find an AOP is a great way to learn,” Goldberg said. “I think the convenience of it being asynchronous and online allows you to do your job, to be with your family, and still get the degree. It has been very valuable. AOP are just wonderful programs offered here at UTRGV.”


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.