In the beginning
When people hear about the merger between UTPA and the University of Texas at Brownsville, they tend to think it was a process that started a few months ago. What they don’t realize is that the merger had been in the works long before University of Texas System officials invaded the Rio Grande Valley with promises of better educational opportunities.
The first seeds of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley were planted in December 2012, when the plan was approved by the UT System Board of Regents. The bill then went to the Texas Legislature in May 2013, eventually gaining approval and being signed by Gov. Rick Perry the following month. Now, here we are on the precipice of a new era for the University, including the creation of a medical school. Despite the fact the inaugural freshman class will begin its collegiate journey in fall 2015, we are still quibbling over colors and mascots.
For the past three years I’ve worked intermittently with this newspaper, eventually becoming a full-time member and now co-editor-in-chief. I’ve been covering this merger from the beginning and it’s odd that something that seemed so vague in the beginning stages is finally coming to fruition. But what is even more strange is that it still seems unclear almost two years later.
This is the last fall semester for UTPA and, appropriately, also my last semester as a college student at this institution. Yet the image of what this new university will look like is still as hazy as it was in December. Some details are clear, such as who will lead this new era – UTRGV President Guy Bailey and Dr. Francisco Fernandez, the latter as the founding dean of the medical school. But for the most part, students are wondering how their daily lives will change, if at all. This special edition magazine takes an in-depth look at these students, the RGV and the stories that make up our community during this time of transition.
Much like everyone else in this limbo, there are no guarantees of what will happen to this newspaper, The Pan American. Will we merge with UTB’s newspaper? Will the name and/or the colors be the same? We have no clue. But we do know that we will continue to produce the highest caliber of content. It will continue to inspire and educate, much like UTPA. Even if the aesthetic qualities change, both this newspaper and the university will be a place for students to grow, learn and aspire for more.
So enjoy, readers. This product in your hands is the last magazine we will produce under the UTPA identity, ending 71 years of service. But it is not the last product we will ever produce. Even if everything else about the merger seems hazy, this newspaper – whatever it is called down the line – will never fail to deliver the news and articles that have made it what it is. It will continue.
We will continue.