Tuesday, May 21, 2024
  Awards, Around Campus, Community

By Amanda Alaniz

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – MAY 21, 2024 – A new gift from UTRGV’s collaborating partner, Sam’s Club, is expected to help broaden opportunities for students and their future careers.

Sam’s Club recently gave the UTRGV Career Center and the UTRGV Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship $350,000 to help in new endeavors for students, in support of the center and the business college. The contribution will aid the Department of Information Systems and the Center for Innovation and Commercialization within the college.

A group of representatives from UTRGV visited Sam’s Club headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., last summer to initiate a conversation with the organization’s executives that would generate new opportunities for students, and with a philanthropic component.

Luis Leal, UTRGV associate vice president for Development for the Division of Institutional Advancement, was among the UTRGV participants, along with Dr. Giorgio Gotti, dean for RCVCOBE; Dr. Bin Wang, professor and department chair of Information Systems; and Ronnie Garcia, associate director of Employer Relations.

UTRGV has collaborated with Sam’s Club and Walmart for many years, Leal said.

“The new gift reassures the commitment that Sam’s Club has toward empowering UTRGV students with the right tools to succeed not just in our region, but well beyond,” he said.

The gift is expected to help open new doors for students as they continue their education. Students would have access to:

  • IRIS Pods, a photo area that will help students, faculty, alumni and staff take professional headshots to use in portfolios, websites, etc.
  • Career Closet, located on the Edinburg Campus, is an initiative that allows students to request and receive professional-looking garments to help them with interviews, career fairs and networking events. The location is currently under construction.
  • New equipment for computer labs in the RCVCOBE.

The gift partially supported prizes and operation expenses for CIC Business Plan Competition held Friday, April 26 in Weslaco.

For more information about career opportunities, visit utrgv.edu/careercenter.


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.