Gov. Rick Perry today was joined by The University of Texas System Chairman Gene Powell, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) President Robert Nelson, The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) President Juliet Garcia and South Texas lawmakers at signing ceremonies for Senate Bill 24.
"The Rio Grande Valley is growing rapidly, both in terms of population and economic power," Gov. Perry said. "This new university will be a beacon of opportunity, innovation and potential in the Valley, telling the story of the ongoing promise of the 21st Century and the growing role South Texas will play in our future."
SB 24 creates a new university and medical school in South Texas by merging UTPA and UTB. The bill authorizes this new university to use money from the Permanent University Fund to construct and equip facilities, which will expand access to world-class education in the Valley.
SB 24 also maintains the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a coeducational program for academically gifted Texas high school students. Geared primarily toward juniors and seniors, the academy allows them to complete high school graduation requirements while receiving credit at an institution of higher education. The bill also maintains the Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development at the new university to study the economic needs of the region and ensure they are included in the state economic development plan.