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Vackars gift $1 million to the UTRGV Department of Communication

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Janet and Robert Vackar announce the Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship for students in the UTRGV College of Liberal Arts on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at the Rio Bank Building in McAllen, Texas. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

Texas Border Business

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By Kelli Quin

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Robert C. and Janet Vackar have gifted $1 million to the UTRGV College of Liberal Arts to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a degree in mass communication.

The gift, which was presented to UTRGV on Wednesday in McAllen, is an addition to the existing Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship, established in 2016.

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Both Valley natives, Robert and Janet had parents who owned local businesses. They set the example for hard work, volunteer service and giving back to the community, and in turn, inspired their children’s philanthropy.

Janet, whose father founded the Bert Ogden Auto Group, is deeply involved in public relations and marketing for the business. Her love for business also extends to her passion for helping mass communication students reach their educational goals.

“The Rio Grande Valley offers so much opportunity,” Janet Vackar said. “I want to give local students who are passionate about the communication field the ability to receive a comprehensive and engaging education, which will open limitless doors to them in the future.”

The Vackars are longtime, generous supporters of UTRGV and its legacy institutions, and their commitment to students resonates throughout the university. In addition to the Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship, they have two other scholarship funds supporting business, entrepreneurship and education students. In 2016, UTRGV named the Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship in honor of the couple’s historic endowment to the university.

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This new addition to the Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship is a testament to the support for and belief in UTRGV students the Vackars have. The endowment provides an enduring source of scholarship funding, providing more opportunities for students to pursue a degree in mass communication.

Group photo at the press conference where Janet and Robert Vackar announce the Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship for students in the UTRGV College of Liberal Arts on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at the Rio Bank Building in McAllen, Texas. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez

“The UTRGV Department of Communication is shaping tech-savvy, creative, and informed professionals who will improve our community,” said Dr. Walter Diaz, UTRGV College of Liberal Arts dean.

The UTRGV Department of Communication offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs that address the essential dimensions of communication, including mass media, public relations, print and broadcast journalism, advertising and organizational communication.

“I want our students to believe in themselves and continue chasing their dreams. The Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship gives them the support and encouragement they need,” Diaz said.

Dr. Kelly Nassour, UTRGV executive vice president for Institutional Advancement, said the gift will encourage creativity and innovation among the university’s students.

“The Vackars’ generous gift will support our program as it prepares students to pursue innovative solutions to communication and public relations issues of the future,” Nassour said.

Nassour said the Vackars’ generosity also serves as an inspiration for the UTRGV community.

“The Vackar Family are true champions for higher education in Rio Grande Valley, and their investments in UTRGV will have a lasting impact on the region,” Nassour said.

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