Texas Border Business
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.