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Martin Baylor, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Featured: Martin Baylor, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, holds up a plaque recognizing UTRGV for its Tree Campus USA designation, during a ceremony on Thursday, October 22, 2015, at the Chapel Lawn on the Edinburg Campus. The cities of Edinburg and McAllen each recognized UTRGV with a proclamation.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Soon after local leaders helped celebrate the designation of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg Campus, home to nearly 2,000 trees, as a Tree Campus USA, the attention of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation will be focused in Austin for the Wednesday, November 4, and Thursday, November 5, public meeting of The University of Texas System Board of Regents. On those two days, the regents will take action on dozens of measures impacting the UT System statewide, including at least two items of particular importance the UTRGV Edinburg Campus – a discussion and appropriate action regarding proposed provisional Mission Statement, to be presented by UTRGV President Guy Bailey – and the proposed purchase of an existing, privately-owned facility and lot at 1615 South Closner Boulevard for office and research lab use. The UT System Board of Regents meeting will be held on the ninth floor of Ashbel Smith Hall, 201 W. 7th Street in Austin, with the agenda book and links to the live webcast for the meeting posted online at
https://www.utsystem.edu/news/2015/10/30/ut-system-regents-meet-nov-4-5. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members. Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related. “In partnership with the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC and its Board of Directors work closely with the UTRGV and UT System leadership, along with the state legislative delegation, to support measures that benefit UTRGV’s Edinburg Campus and its soon-to-open UTRGV School of Medicine campus,” said Mayor García. “This has been a long-standing practice that continues to lead to major advances, both in facilities and academic programs, here at home, but which also benefits the entire Rio Grande Valley.” EEDC Board President Iglesias noted that just since August 2015 at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus, there have been major activities that have generated positive attention on the city, its quality-of-life, and continued economic growth. “From the approval by the UT System Board of Regents on August 21 of a $478 million budget for UTRGV’s 2016 fiscal year, to the October 5 groundbreaking of the $70 million UTRGV Science Research Building at the Edinburg Campus, the EEDC Board of Directors, Mayor and City Council remain key figures in this tremendous and documented progress,” said Iglesias. EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr., noted that as a result of the city’s and EEDC’s legislative lobbying efforts, the Texas Legislature last spring approved a financing plan that will soon lead the construction of $37.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at the Edinburg Campus. That facility will include a 250-seat lecture auditorium, two 150-seat lecture halls, five 60-seat classrooms, and offices. The project also will include an outdoor pavilion for use as a gathering or study space. The UT System Board of Regents meeting on November 4 and November 5 will continue the momentum, according to summaries of those anticipate actions that are included in the regents’ agenda book.

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UTRGV set to purchase $1+ million facility with 2.5 acre tract of land on South Closner Boulevard for needed expansion, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation announces

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Soon after local leaders helped celebrate the designation of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg Campus, home to nearly 2,000 trees, as a Tree Campus USA, the attention of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation will be focused in Austin for the Wednesday, November 4, and Thursday, November 5, public meeting of The University of Texas System Board of Regents.

On those two days, the regents will take action on dozens of measures impacting the UT System statewide, including at least two items of particular importance the UTRGV Edinburg Campus – a discussion and appropriate action regarding proposed provisional Mission Statement, to be presented by UTRGV President Guy Bailey – and the proposed purchase of an existing, privately-owned facility and lot at 1615 South Closner Boulevard for office and research lab use.

The UT System Board of Regents meeting will be held on the ninth floor of Ashbel Smith Hall, 201 W. 7th Street in Austin, with the agenda book and links to the live webcast for the meeting posted online at
https://www.utsystem.edu/news/2015/10/30/ut-system-regents-meet-nov-4-5.

The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Ruppert as Members.

Richard García and Agustín García, Jr. are not related.

“In partnership with the Edinburg City Council, the EEDC and its Board of Directors work closely with the UTRGV and UT System leadership, along with the state legislative delegation, to support measures that benefit UTRGV’s Edinburg Campus and its soon-to-open UTRGV School of Medicine campus,” said Mayor García. “This has been a long-standing practice that continues to lead to major advances, both in facilities and academic programs, here at home, but which also benefits the entire Rio Grande Valley.”

EEDC Board President Iglesias noted that just since August 2015 at the UTRGV Edinburg Campus, there have been major activities that have generated positive attention on the city, its quality-of-life, and continued economic growth.

“From the approval by the UT System Board of Regents on August 21 of a $478 million budget for UTRGV’s 2016 fiscal year, to the October 5 groundbreaking of the $70 million UTRGV Science Research Building at the Edinburg Campus, the EEDC Board of Directors, Mayor and City Council remain key figures in this tremendous and documented progress,” said Iglesias.

EEDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr., noted that as a result of the city’s and EEDC’s legislative lobbying efforts, the Texas Legislature last spring approved a financing plan that will soon lead the construction of $37.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at the Edinburg Campus.

That facility will include a 250-seat lecture auditorium, two 150-seat lecture halls, five 60-seat classrooms, and offices. The project also will include an outdoor pavilion for use as a gathering or study space.

The UT System Board of Regents meeting on November 4 and November 5 will continue the momentum, according to summaries of those anticipate actions that are included in the regents’ agenda book.

PURCHASE OF EXISTING FACILITY, LOT AT 1615 SOUTH CLOSNER BOULEVARD

Regarding ongoing expansion by UTRGV in Edinburg, the regents will consider the following request by UTRGV to purchase an approximately 2.5 acre tract of land and improvements located at 1615 South Closner Boulevard, Edinburg, from Edinburg Real Estate Network, Inc., for office and research lab use.

Board approval is required because this property is not within the Board-approved Campus Master Plan and is valued at greater than $1 million.

The UT System Board of Regents also are scheduled to take action on the proposed provisional Mission Statement for UTRGV.

In general, a Mission Statement is a formal summary of the aims and values of a company, organization, or individual.

According to the agenda packet, UT System Chancellor William McRaven concurs with the recommendation of Pedro Reyes, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and President Bailey that the proposed provisional Mission Statement for UT Rio Grande Valley as set forth below be approved by the UT System Board of Regents.

PROPOSED MISSION STATEMENT FOR UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley provides a high quality, innovative, and affordable education to the students of South Texas, the State of Texas, the United States and the world. The University will transform Texas and the nation through student success, research, healthcare, and commercialization of university discoveries.

The proposed provisional Mission Statement for UT Rio Grande Valley is based on the Guiding Principles for the new University approved by the Board of Regents on July 10, 2013, and the priorities defined by the institution’s working groups and founding President.

The provisional Mission Statement will serve as the foundation for the development of the institution’s first strategic plan. This process will commence in Fall 2015 and will involve students, faculty, staff, and administrative staff at UT Rio Grande Valley.

In 2013, the Texas Legislature repealed Texas Education Code Section 61.051(e), which directed the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to review the mission statements of public institutions, typically, every four years. However, each institution is required to have a mission statement under Texas Education Code Section 51.359. Section 51.352 of the Code, regarding the Responsibility of Governing Boards, requires governing boards to “insist on clarity of focus and mission of each institution under its governance.”

Pursuant to a directive by the Board of Regents on March 26, 2008, each Mission Statement must include a statement regarding the commercialization of university discoveries.

UTRGV EDINBURG CAMPUS CELEBRATES TREE CAMPUS USA DESIGNATION

The Arbor Day Foundation named the UTRGV Edinburg Campus as a 2014 Tree Campus USA university for its commitment to effective urban forest management, and for engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota. The university achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five core standards of tree care and community engagement:

• Establishing a campus tree advisory committee.
• Having a campus tree-care plan.
• Verifying dedicated annual expenditures on the tree-care plan.
• Being involved in an Arbor Day observance.
I• nstituting a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

The initiative was led by UTRGV’s Office for Sustainability with the Facilities Management Department, as well as Dr. Alexis Racelis, Assistant Professor of Biology, and former University of Texas-Pan American graduate assistant Jorge Cantú (MS ’15), who directed a cadre of 32 students in an inventory of the trees on campus.

“Students enjoyed being outside and learning practical tools,” Racelis said. “The students were trained by myself and the city and state foresters to identify trees, how to measure them, how to estimate their health, and how to get all of the dimensions we needed. They’re becoming better stewards of this region and they know the value of trees – not just the monetary value, but the environmental value.”

During the ceremony, Martin Baylor, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration at UTRGV, expressed his gratitude for the decades of service that have gone into maintaining and preserving the 1,971 trees on campus with a structural value of nearly $5,735,000.

Baylor acknowledged the hard work of the 16-member grounds crew.

“This team takes on the responsibility for approximately 15 acres per person, on just this campus alone,” Baylor said. “They do an enormous amount of work every day to keep this campus looking as beautiful as it is.”

Baylor is looking forward to expanding the Tree Campus USA designation across all of the UTRGV campuses and locations.

“This is something we had started early on at UT Pan American (a UTRGV legacy institution), and I’m so excited that this is one of the first really cool things that UTRGV gets to immediately inherit,” he said. “We had some great graduate students participating, and we certainly want to get that same level of participation to carry on that designation throughout the Valley.”

McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and Edinburg Assistant City Manager Sonia Marroquin presented proclamations on the UTRGV Tree Campus USA award.

The event concluded with the ceremonial planting of a Texas Ebony tree – a symbol of UTRGV’s new beginnings.

“A tree is a representation of establishing roots,” said Marianella Franklin, UTRGV executive vice president for the Office for Sustainability. “Those roots grow and connect with other trees, so it represents the connection and the unity of our region.”

CHANCELLOR MCRAVEN SET TO UNVEIL STRATEGIC VISION FOR UT SYSTEM

A year after retiring as a four-star Navy admiral, Chancellor William H. McRaven is ready to chart a course for the University of Texas System.

McRaven will present his strategic vision for the UT System during the Board of Regents meeting at about 8:40 a.m. (central time), Thursday, November 5. The presentation, which will be webcast will be held on the ninth floor of Ashbel Smith Hall, 201 W 7th St., and will be followed by a media availability with Chancellor McRaven and Board Chairman Paul Foster.

Given McRaven’s storied career in the U.S. Navy and his reputation as one of the nation’s most respected military leaders, the vision will offer a compelling, uncompromising take on higher education and the responsibilities the UT System and its institutions must rise to over the next five years.

The chancellor’s vision will serve as a roadmap for the UT System and its 14 institutions, which enroll more than 217,000 students and employ more than 90,000 staff, faculty, researchers and health care professionals.

McRaven is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and, as the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, was responsible for conducting counter-terrorism operations worldwide. When he made the decision to retire and take the reins of the UT System in January, it was because, he said, he was inspired by the opportunity to change lives through education, research and health care.

“I know the chancellor’s plan will be exciting and ambitious and will position the UT System as the nation’s premier system of higher education,” Foster said. “We knew when we appointed McRaven that his tremendous leadership skills and his bold, new ideas would take the UT System to new heights.”

Following the presentation Thursday morning, McRaven and Foster will briefly answer questions from the media in room 208 of Ashbel Smith Hall. The media availability will begin at about 10:15 a.m., or before the Regents recess into executive session.

ABOUT THE UT SYSTEM

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System The is one of the largest public university systems in the United States.

With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 217,000, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates almost two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas.

The UT System has an annual operating budget of $16.9 billion (FY 2016) including $3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With about 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates – and more than 70,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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Karen Pérez, Jenny LaCoste-Caputo and Karen Adler contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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