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Friday, May 24, 2024
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Unveiling Robert and Janet Vackar Stadium and a $20 Million Donation

A Monument of Generosity

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This event was set to highlight an unparalleled act of generosity by Bob and Janet Vackar, whose support has been a cornerstone for the university since its inception in 2015. The announcement? A staggering $20 million donation to UTRGV athletics led to the naming of the Robert and Janet Vacker Stadium. Photo By Roberto Hugo González.
This event was set to highlight an unparalleled act of generosity by Bob and Janet Vackar, whose support has been a cornerstone for the university since its inception in 2015. The announcement? A staggering $20 million donation to UTRGV athletics led to the naming of the Robert and Janet Vackar Stadium. Photo By Roberto Hugo González.
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By Roberto Hugo González

On a day marked by anticipation and excitement, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) community came together for a historic announcement, cloaked in secrecy until the moment of revelation. This event was set to highlight an unparalleled act of generosity by Bob and Janet Vackar, whose support has been a cornerstone for the university since its inception in 2015. The announcement? A staggering $20 million donation to UTRGV athletics led to the naming of the Robert and Janet Vackar Stadium. This gesture, extending far beyond a mere financial transaction, symbolizes a deep investment in the institution’s potential and the communities it serves.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Dr. Guy Bailey, President of UTRGV, captured the crowd’s attention with his opening remarks, setting the stage for the announcement and highlighting the collective achievements and shared visions of the UTRGV family. It was an acknowledgment of the roles played by administrators, faculty, and the Rio Grande Valley community in the university’s journey. Yet, at the heart of his address was the narrative of Bob and Janet Vackar’s support and belief in UTRGV’s mission—a belief manifest in their generous contributions over the years, culminating in the historic donation that day.

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Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

The atmosphere was electrified as the Vackars’ latest contribution details were unveiled. Dr. Bailey and Chasse Conque, Vice President and Director of Athletics, articulated the impact this gift would have on UTRGV athletics and the community. The anticipation of UTRGV football, enhanced recruitment of talented student-athletes, and an enriched game-day experience for fans were just a few sides of the bright future foreseen for the university’s athletic department.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Dr. Kelly Nassour, Executive Vice President for Institutional Advancement, further highlighted the profound significance of the Vackars’ philanthropy, emphasizing its role in ushering in a new era of opportunity for UTRGV and the Rio Grande Valley. Her words resonated with the community’s deep gratitude, pointing to the far-reaching impact of the Vackars’ generosity.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Natasha del Barrio, CEO of Bert Ogden Auto Group, added a personal touch to the event. She shared her admiration for the Vackars and the revolutionary effect of their vision and support on the region. Her reflections on the stadium’s naming’s larger implications—beyond athletics to the community’s vibrancy and dynamism—highlight the legacy the Vackars are building in the Rio Grande Valley.

Robert and Janet Vackar Celebrating the day! Courtesy Image

As the ceremony continued, it was clear that the Robert and Janet Vackar Stadium unveiling was not just about recognizing a significant financial contribution. It was about celebrating a legacy of generosity, vision, and community engagement that inspired current and future generations. The Vackars’ belief in the power of education and their commitment to the university and its surrounding community have laid a foundation for growth, excellence, and unity that will resonate for years.

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Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Janet Vackar, with her genuine warmth and engaging presence, effortlessly captured the hearts of everyone in attendance as she took the podium. Despite joking about it not being a good hair day, her conduct and words quickly shifted the focus to the remarkable occasion they gathered for. Her speech offered a unique blend of personal reflection, community appreciation, and an optimistic look toward the future, highlighting the deep connections and enduring legacy the Vackars are building in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV).

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Janet began by expressing pride in the RGV’s growth, particularly highlighting Edinburg, Texas, as the region’s development into an all-American city. Her recounting her and Bob’s familial ties to Edinburg painted a picture of deep-rooted history and commitment to the area. The success story of her father’s dealership, supported by the community and the then Pan-American College, was an emotional reminder of the mutual relationship between the Vackars and the RGV.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Further, Janet’s admiration for Bob’s upbringing and his father’s entrepreneurial spirit highlighted a legacy of hard work, resilience, and business acumen passed down through generations. These personal anecdotes humanized their success and emphasized the foundational values of perseverance and community support that have guided their journey.

Janet’s praise for Dr. Guy Bailey, the President of UTRGV, accentuated the importance of visionary leadership in achieving institutional milestones. She labeled him a “game changer,” celebrating his immediate and impactful vision for the university upon his arrival in the RGV. Janet’s excitement about aligning their aspirations with Dr. Bailey’s ambitious plans for UTRGV revealed a shared commitment to enhancing the region’s educational landscape. Her emphasis on the significance of providing top-notch educational opportunities locally so the youth don’t have to leave for quality education spoke volumes about her and Bob’s dedication to fostering local talent and opportunities.

The announcement of the football program and the introduction of Travis, the football coach, added a personal and humorous touch to her speech, showcasing her approachable and spirited nature. Janet’s playful interaction with Travis and the audience highlighted her genuine excitement for the program and her belief in its potential to further transform and unite the community.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Janet’s closing remarks, inviting Bob to speak next, seamlessly transitioned the focus while leaving an indelible mark on the audience. Her ability to link personal stories, community pride, and visionary aspirations showcased the Vackars’ multifaceted contributions to the RGV. Janet Vackar, through her words and presence, not only celebrated the immediate joy of the stadium’s unveiling but also invited everyone to look forward to the broader impact of their philanthropy on the community and future generations.

Bob Vackar’s narrative at the podium brought a reflective and deeply personal touch to the ceremony. He tangled his early life experiences in Edinburg with the significant philanthropic impact he and Janet have made on the community. His story, rich in local history and personal growth, demonstrated the power of education.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Bob began by sharing memories of his youth, growing up blocks away from the event’s location, and the challenges his family faced. He vividly recalled Edinburg in the late forties and early fifties, when community and hard work were pillars of daily life. His recounting of family history, local educators, and community leaders who played pivotal roles in his upbringing emphasized the collective effort it takes to raise and support a child.

His experiences, from working in his father’s lumberyard to spending time with influential educators and mentors, illustrated a common theme: the value of hard work and the indelible impact of community figures on a young person’s life. Bob highlighted how these experiences, particularly the encouragement to pursue education, shaped his perspective on success and giving back.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

Bob was proud of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) ‘s evolution and significance to the region. He marveled at the transformation of Edinburg and the university from humble beginnings to a thriving academic institution, now the ninth largest in Texas. His journey from unloading box cars in the heat to recognizing the value of education mirrored the growth and development he witnessed in his hometown and its educational institutions.

Bob’s reflections extended beyond his achievements to the impact of education on community development. He stressed the importance of mentorship and support for young people and lamented the declining time educators and community members can dedicate to personal guidance.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

The narrative then shifted to the impact of UTRGV graduates within the Bert Ogden Auto Group, highlighting the high caliber of students produced by the university. Bob’s pride in hiring UTRGV alumni, including those in significant leadership roles within his company, verified the quality of education and the student’s readiness to contribute meaningfully to the business world.

Bob’s speech culminated in a reflection on the dinner with Dr. Guy Bailey and Mack Brown, symbolizing the intersection of friendship, leadership, and shared values. His humorous recount of the dinner highlighted the warmth and friendship.

Photo By Roberto Hugo González.

In conclusion, Bob Vackar’s speech was a heartfelt homage to Edinburg, UTRGV, and the community that shaped him. His journey from a young man guided by local mentors to a philanthropic leader investing in the region’s future highlighted the cyclical nature of giving and the enduring impact of education on individual lives and community prosperity. Through his narrative, Bob illustrated how personal history and commitment to education and community support can lead to outcomes that transform future generations. The Robert and Janet Vackar Stadium will be where the new Vaqueros Football team plays their games. It will also be used for different events by the university.

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Publisher’s note: Robert and Janet, both from the Valley and the leading owners of the Bert Ogden Auto Group, were raised in families that owned local businesses just a few blocks from the stadium. This background gave them a deep respect for hard work, community service, and giving back. United by their shared commitment, they are passionate about helping students achieve their educational goals.

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