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Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia and Commissioners A. C. Cuellar, Jr., Hector "Tito" Palacios, and Joseph Palacios were among the officials on hand to witness Texas Governor Rick Perry's ceremonial signing of the legislation creating a new University of Texas university and medical school in South Texas.
At the ceremony, Governor Perry praised University of Texas System Board of Regents Chairman Gene Powell, of Weslaco, Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, of Laredo, newly-appointed Regent Ernest Aliseda, of McAllen, US Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, state senators and representatives, UTPA President Robert Nelsen, UTB President Julieta Garcia, for the role they played to turn the eyes of Texas to the Rio Grande Valley, which, Perry commented, had been overlooked for far too long.
It was Chancellor Cigarroa's vision of hope and opportunity for the South Texas region that began Project South Texas. The vision was developed by the UT System Board of Regents, carried through the state legislature, and lauded by Rio Grande Valley local leaders, including County Judge Ramon Garcia and the members of Hidalgo County Commissioners Court. The legislature authorizing the creation of the new UT university and medical school was approved in May 2013.
According to the University of Texas System, the new university, with a focus on biliteracy, bilingualism and biculturalism, promises to transform South Texas by providing limitless opportunities in education and economic growth and improving healthcare for millions of Texas. The new university will also have access to the Permanent University Fund (PUF), bringing this important resource to South Texas for the first time.
Hidalgo County officials were proud to be a part of this historic occasion, which will forever change the landscape of South Texas.