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UTRGV Winter 9am Commencement for the Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship and the College of Health Affairs on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017 at the McAllen Convention Center in McAllen, Texas. UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy

FEATURED: The second day of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Fall 2017 commencement took place on Saturday, December 16, 2017 with four ceremonies held at the McAllen Convention Center. Family and friends cheered on the graduates from the UTRGV Edinburg Campus. A ceremony for Brownsville-based UTRGV graduates was held Friday evening, December 15, 2017. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. More images from the graduation ceremonies are available online at: https://utrgv-umc.photoshelter.com, and type the password “commencement” (all in lower case letters).

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent in November 2017, representing 36,989 jobs for that month, making the city, along with McAllen, the only two major economies in the Rio Grande Valley which came under the five percent level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy. These latest figures, prepared by the Texas Workforce Commission and released on Friday, December 22, 2017, showed that there was an increase of 263 people employed in Edinburg in November 2017 (36,989) compared with October 2017 (36,726). Also, Edinburg saw a growth of 702 jobs when comparing the monthly total for November 2017, (36,989) and November 2016 (36,287), according to the Edinburg EDC. In addition, the November 2017 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent is the third-best showing in Edinburg for that month since 2007, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members.
••••••

Edinburg approached 37,000 jobs in November 2017 as unemployment rate remains low, calculated at 4.8 percent, reports Edinburg EDC

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Edinburg posted an unemployment rate of 4.8percent in November 2017, representing 36,989 jobs for that month, making the city, along with McAllen, the only two major economies in the Rio Grande Valley which came under the five percent level, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The unemployment rate is a key indicator of the strength of the local economy.

The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members.

These latest figures, prepared by the Texas Workforce Commission and released on Friday, December 22, 2017, showed that there was an increase of 263 people employed in Edinburg in November 2017 (36,989) compared with October 2017 (36,726).

Also, Edinburg saw a growth of 702 jobs when comparing the monthly total for November 2017, (36,989) and November 2016 (36,287), according to the Edinburg EDC.

In addition, the November 2017 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent is the third-best showing in Edinburg for that month since 2007, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The number of jobs in Edinburg is independently documented by the Texas Workforce Commission, a state agency with many key duties, such as maintaining and reporting on key trends in state and local economies, including unemployment rates and the number of people employed in cities.

The unemployment rate is the number of persons unemployed, expressed as a percentage of the civilian labor force, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. The civilian labor force is that portion of the population age 16 and older employed or unemployed. To be considered unemployed, a person has to be not working but willing and able to work and actively seeking work.

During 2017, Edinburg has recorded one of the lowest unemployment rates among Valley cities in April and May, and came in with the second-lowest unemployment rates during the other months in 2017 through July.

McAllen, which came in with a 5.4 percent unemployment in May 2017, tied Edinburg for the best showing for that month.

For the past several years, Edinburg has registered the lowest or second-lowest monthly unemployment rate among all Valley cities.

Edinburg’s November 2017 unemployment rate of 4.8 percent is part of a consistent pattern of positive reports, including October 2017 (4.7 percent), September 2017 (5.5 percent), August 2017 (6.2 percent), July (5.7 percent), June 2017 (5.9), May 2017 (5.4 percent), April 2017 (5.4 percent), March 2017 (6 percent), February 2017 (6.4 percent) and January 2017 (6.2 percent).

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, for the month of November 2017, these are the employment figures for the seven largest cities in the Valley:

Brownsville: 69,994
McAllen: 61,593
Edinburg: 36,989
Mission: 31,829
Pharr: 27,779
Harlingen: 23,119
Weslaco: 14,250

CITY’S MONTHLY, ANNUAL UNEMPLOYMENT REMAIN AMONG BEST IN VALLEY

Edinburg’s November 2017 unemployment rate and the latest figures from the Valley’s most populated cities follow:

McAllen: 4.4 percent
Edinburg: 4.8 percent
Mission: 5.6 percent
Harlingen: 5.7 percent
Brownsville: 5.9 percent
Pharr: 6.8 percent
Weslaco: 7.1 percent

The state’s unemployment rate in November 2017 was 3.7 percent, compared with 4.5 percent in November 2016.

The U.S. unemployment rate in November 2017 was 4.1 percent, compared with 4.6 percent the same month the previous year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000).

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rate for 2016 compared favorably with the Valley’s other major cities:

The annual unemployment rate in McAllen for 2016 was 5.4 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Edinburg for 2016 was 5.9 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Harlingen for 2o16 was 6.1  percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Mission for 2o16 was 7.4 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Brownsville for 2o16 was 7.8 percent;
The annual unemployment rate in Weslaco for 2o16 was 8.1 percent; and
The annual unemployment rate in Pharr for 2o16 was  8.3 percent.

Edinburg’s annual unemployment rates since 2005, which is the year in which the state government began preparing those figures using a more accurate formula, according to the Texas Workforce Commission, have registered as follows: 2016 (5.9); 2015 (5) percent), 2014 (5.8 percent), 2013 (6.9 percent), 2012 (7.5 percent), 2011 (8.4 percent), 2010 (8.2 percent), 2009 (6.8 percent), 2008 (4.9 percent), 2007 (4.7 percent), 2006 (5.2 percent), and 2005 (4.9 percent).

Edinburg’s 2017 employment, by month, follows:

November: 36,989
October: 36,726
September: 36,578
August: 36,159
July: 36,101
June: 36,601
May: 36,856
April: 36,909
March: 36,862
February: 36,621
January: 36,246

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the major cities in the four-county Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2017,  2016, and 2015:

McALLEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 4.4 percent
October: 4.2 percent
September: 4.8 percent
August: 5.5 percent
July: 5.2 percent
June: 5.7 percent
May: 5.4 percent
April: 5.6 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 5.9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 5.4 percent
November: 5.2 percent
October: 5.3 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 5.9 percent
July: 6 percent
June: 5.8 percent
May: 5 percent
April: 5 percent
March: 5.1 percent
February: 5.1 percent
January: 5.3 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.5 percent
November: 4.8 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5.1 percent
August: 5.2 percent
July: 5.6 percent
June: 5.4 percent
May: 4.9 percent
April: 4.5 percent
March: 4.7 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

••••••

EDINBURG

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November 2017: 4.8 percent
October 2017: 4.7 percent
September 2017: 5.5 percent
August: 6.2 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.9 percent
May: 5.4 percent
April: 5.4 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.4 percent
January: 6.2 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016 

December: 5.9 percent
November: 5.7 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.3 percent
August: 6.3 percent
July 2016: 6.5 percent
June 2016: 6.5 percent
May 2016: 5.4 percent
April 2016: 5.5 percent
March 2016: 5.6 percent
February 2016: 5.5 percent
January 2016: 5.8 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015

December: 4.7 percent
November: 4.7 percent
October: 4.9 percent
September: 5 percent
August: 5.4 percent
July: 5.7 percent
June: 5.5 percent
May: 5 percent
April: 4.6 percent
March: 4.8 percent
February: 4.9 percent
January: 5.2 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 5 percent

••••••

MISSION

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.4 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.0 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.9 percent
February: 8.1 percent
January: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.4 percent
November: 7.1 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 7.2 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.9 percent
June: 7.9 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 7.1 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 7.4 percent
January: 7.7 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.4 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 6.1 percent
September: 6.1 percent
August: 6.5 percent
July: 6.7 percent
June: 6.7 percent
May: 6.1 percent
April: 5.7 percent
March: 5.8 percent
February: 6 percent
January: 6.5 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.2 percent

••••••

HARLINGEN

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 5.7 percent
October: 5.2 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.8 percent
July: 6.5 percent
June: 7 percent
May: 6.6 percent
April: 6.9 percent
March: 7.4 percent
February: 7.5 percent
January: 7 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 6.2 percent
November: 6.1 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 6.5 percent
July 2016: 6.3 percent
June 2016: 6.3 percent
May 2016: 5.7 percent
April 2016: 5.7 percent
March 2016: 5.8 percent
February 2016: 5.9 percent
January 2016: 5.9 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 5.3 percent
November: 5.6 percent
October: 5.7 percent
September: 5.9 percent
August: 6.3 percent
July: 6.5 percent
June: 6.4 percent
May: 5.9 percent
April: 5.6 percent
March: 5.7 percent
February: 6 percent
January: 6.5 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6 percent

••••••

BROWNSVILLE

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 5.9 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7.6 percent
July: 7.4 percent
June: 8.3 percent
May: 7.2 percent
April: 7.9 percent
March: 8.2 percent
February: 8.7 percent
January: 8.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.1 percent
November: 7.7 percent
October: 7.5 percent
September 2016: 8.1 percent
August 2016: 8.3 percent
July 2016: 8.5 percent
June: 8.6 percent
May: 7.2 percent
April: 7.2 percent
March: 7.3 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January 2016: 7.6 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.9 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.5 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7 percent
July: 7.2 percent
June: 7.2 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 6.6 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.3 percent
January: 8 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 7 percent

••••••

PHARR

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 6.8 percent
October: 6.1 percent
September: 7.7 percent
August: 9.o percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 9.4 percent
May: 8.2 percent
April: 8.6 percent
March: 9.3 percent
February: 9.4 percent
January: 9.9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 8.9 percent
November 2016: 8 percent
October 2016: 7.2 percent
September: 8.1 percent
August 2016: 8.7 percent
July 2016: 9 percent
June 2016: 9.2 percent
May 2016: 7.5 percent
April 2016: 7.8 percent
March 2016: 8.1 percent
February 2o16: 8.3 percent
January 2016: 8.9 percent

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.3 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 7.2 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 6.4 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 7.3 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 7.4 percent
May: 6.4 percent
April: 6.2 percent
March: 6.5 percent
February: 6.9 percent
January: 7.7 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent

WESLACO

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 7.1 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 7.3 percent
August: 9.2 percent
July: 9.0 percent
June: 9.2 percent
May: 7.8 percent
April: 7.8 percent
March: 8.3 percent
February: 8.8 percent
January: 9.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December 2016: 9.7 percent
November 2016: 8.3 percent
October 2016: 6.7 percent
September 2016: 8.2 percent
August 2016: 8.8 percent
July 2016: 9.3 percent
June 2016: 8.9 percent
May 2016: 6.9 percent
April 2016: 7 percent
March: 7.8 percent
February 2016: 7.6 percent
January 2016: 8.5 percent.

2016 Annual Unemployment Rate: 8.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate 2015 

December: 6.8 percent
November: 6.5 percent
October: 5.8 percent
September: 6.6 percent
August: 6.8 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.3 percent
May: 6 percent
April: 5.7 percent
March: 6 percent
February: 6.5 percent
January: 7.3 percent

2015 Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.4 percent

••••••

ADDITIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMIC STATISTICS

Also according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the four counties in the Rio Grande Valley have recorded the following monthly unemployment rates in 2017,  2016, and 2015:

HIDALGO COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 6.2 percent
October: 5.6 percent
September: 6.8 percent
August: 7.9 percent
July: 7.6 percent
June: 8.3 percent
May: 7.5 percent
April: 8 percent
March: 8.5 percent
February: 8.8 percent
January: 9 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 8.2 percent
November: 7.6 percent
October: 7.1 percent
September: 7.9 percent
August: 8.3 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.4 percent
May: 7.1 percent
April: 7.3 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 7.8 percent
January: 8.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o16 was 7.8 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 7.9 percent
November: 7.8 percent
October: 7.4 percent
September: 7.7 percent
August: 8.2 percent
July: 8.5 percent
June: 8.4 percent
May: 7.6 percent
April: 7.4 percent
March: 7.7 percent
February: 8 percent
January: 8.5 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Hidalgo County for 2o15 was 7.9 percent.

••••••

CAMERON COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 5.8 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 6.4 percent
August: 7.4 percent
July: 7.0 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 7 percent
April: 7.5 percent
March: 7.9 percent
February: 8.3 percent
January: 8.1 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 7.4 percent
November: 7 percent
October: 6.9 percent
September: 7.4 percent
August: 7.5 percent
July: 7.7 percent
June: 7.8 percent
May: 6.7 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7 percent
February: 7 percent
January: 7.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Cameron County for 2o16 was  7.2 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 6.8 percent
November: 6.9 percent
October: 6.7 percent
September: 6.8 percent
August: 7.1 percent
July: 7.4 percent
June: 7.5 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 6.8 percent
March: 7.2 percent
February: 7.4 percent
January: 8 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Cameron County for 2o15 was 7.1 percent.

Also for November 2017, there were 316,303individuals employed in Hidalgo County, while 154,590 persons were employed in Cameron County during the same month.

••••••

STARR COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 9.2 percent
October: 8.3 percent
September: 9.7 percent
August: 11.1 percent
July: 11.3 percent
June: 12.6 percent
May: 11.9 percent
April: 14 percent
March: 14.9 percent
February: 15.6 percent
January: 15.8 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 14.1 percent
November: 13 percent
October: 12.2 percent
September: 13.4 percent
August: 13.9 percent
July: 14.3 percent
June: 14.2 percent
May: 12.5 percent
April: 13.5 percent
March: 14.3 percent
February: 13.9 percent
January: 14.2 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Starr County for 2o16 was 13.6 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 13.4 percent
November: 13.4 percent
October: 12.6 percent
September: 12.6 percent
August: 13.6 percent
July: 14.1 percent
June: 14.2 percent
May: 13 percent
April: 13 percent
March: 13.7 percent
February: 13.8 percent
January: 14.4 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate in Starr County for 2o15 was 13.5 percent.

••••••

WILLACY COUNTY

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2017

November: 8.6 percent
October: 8.5 percent
September: 9.5 percent
August: 11.1 percent
July: 11.7 percent
June: 12.6 percent
May: 12.3 percent
April: 13.3 percent
March: 13.3 percent
February: 13.2 percent
January: 12.7 percent

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2016

December: 11.2 percent
November: 11.1 percent
October: 11.2 percent
September: 12.2 percent
August: 12.8 percent
July: 13.8 percent
June: 13.8 percent
May: 12.4 percent
April: 12.3 percent
March: 12.5 percent
February: 12.4 percent
January: 12.6 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o16 was 12.4 percent.

Monthly Unemployment Rate, 2015

December: 12.1 percent
November: 12.6 percent
October: 12.9 percent
September: 12.5 percent
August: 13.7 percent
July: 14.3 percent
June: 14.6 percent
May: 13.5 percent
April: 13.4 percent
March: 13.2 percent
February: 11.7 percent
January: 12.1 percent

The annual combined unemployment rate for all cities in Willacy County for 2o15 was 13 percent.

For November 2017, there were 23,108 individuals employed in Starr County, while during the same month,5,548 persons were employed in Willacy County.

MORE DETAILED FIGURES ON NUMBER OF JOBS, UNEMPLOYMENT RATES FOR EDINBURG

More detailed information about the labor market and unemployment rates in Edinburg follows:

Edinburg 2016 Employment, By Month

December: 36,476
November: 36,287
October: 36,139
September 2016: 36,038
August 2016: 35,812
July 2016: 35,545
June 2016: 36,234
May 2016: 36,529
April 2016: 36,494
March 2016: 36,340
February 2016: 36,017
January 2016: 35,675

Edinburg 2015 Employment, By Month

December: 35,837
November: 35,803
October: 35,490
September: 35,225
August: 35,025
July: 34,978
June: 35,634
May: 36,029
April: 35,790
March: 35,665
February: 35,416
January: 35,308

Edinburg 2014 Employment, By Month

December 2014: 35,501
November 2014: 35,542
October 2014: 35,456
September 2014: 35,080
August 2014: 34,681
July 2014: 34,583
June 2014: 35,295
May 2014: 35,495
April 2014: 35,462
March 2014: 35,301
February 2014: 35,204
January 2014: 35,053

Edinburg 2013 Employment, By Month

December: 35,071
November: 34,824
October: 34,364
September: 34,291
August: 33,942
July: 33,735
June: 34,333
May: 34,504
April: 34,568
March: 34,241
February: 34,196
January: 34,111

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2014

December: 4.7 percent
November: 5.2 percent
October: 5.5 percent
September: 5.7 percent
August: 6.4 percent
July: 6.6 percent
June: 6.5 percent
May: 5.8 percent
April: 5.3 percent
March: 5.9 percent
February: 6.2 percent
January: 6.3 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 5.8 percent

Edinburg Monthly Unemployment Rates, 2013 

December: 6.1 percent
November: 6.4 percent
October: 7 percent
September: 6.9 percent
August: 7.2 percent
July: 7.5 percent
June: 7.6 percent
May: 6.9 percent
April: 6.4 percent
March: 6.8 percent
February: 7.1 percent
January: 7.3 percent

Annual Unemployment Rate: 6.9 percent.

Because of substantial methodology changes between 2004 and 2005 in estimating city unemployment statistics, Texas city data is not available prior to 2005, according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Because of substantial methodology changes in geographic areas below the state level, data from 2005 and 2004 or earlier is not considered comparable, the state agency explains.

Effective in March 2015, the TWC also notes that “for all sub-state LAUS estimates, a break in series exists between December 2009 and January 2010 due to a change in methodology used. The use of caution is advised when comparing data from prior to 2010 to that of 2010-present.

The Texas Workforce Commission data on all entities in the state, including cities and counties, is available online at:

http://www.tracer2.com/cgi/dataanalysis/AreaSelection.asp?tableName=Labforce

ABOUT 2,700 VAQUEROS CELEBRATE MAJOR MILESTONE AT UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY’S FALL 2017 COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES

The December holiday season was a little merrier for prospective graduates of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley who participated in the Fall 2017 commencement ceremonies, held at the McAllen Convention Center, on Friday, December 15, 2017, and Saturday, December 16, 2017.

Excited family members and loved ones packed the facility for four ceremonies, cheering on the prospective graduates from the UTRGV Edinburg Campus.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey congratulated the UTRGV Vaqueros on a milestone that will forever change the course of their lives and that of their families. He said he is awed by the talents and dedication that brought them all to this point in their lives, and asked them to remember to thank those who helped them along the way – faculty, family and friends.

“Always remember as you go forward that you did not do this alone,” Bailey said. “This is their degree, as well.”

He also told the graduates that, as they commence on this new journey, to always remember to give back to their communities.

“What your life will be defined by is not what you do, but by the impact you have on other people,” he said.

Graduates say opportunities are many at UTRGV

Graduates said they are grateful for the experiences they have had as UTRGV students and credit the university with opening so many doors to their desired careers.

Lourdes Melgarejo, 21, who received her Bachelor of Arts in English education with an ESL (English as a Second Language) endorsement, said she is grateful to the faculty members who mentored her. She plans to pay it forward by moving to Philadelphia to teach English to ninth-grade students who are English-language learners.

Melgarejo, who is originally from Laredo but moved to the Sharyland area her freshman year of high school, said she chose to attend UTRGV because of the opportunities the university offered and its proximity to her family’s home. Some of the opportunities she values most include volunteering with AmeriCorps to help high school students prepare for college, and participating in Breakthrough Collaborative, a program that provides educational programs in underserved areas and offers training to college students aspiring to become teachers.

“I would like to say thank you so much to UTRGV, my professors, and everyone who was able to form a community at UTRGV. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be graduating with honors and going on to inspire others, just as they have inspired me,” Melgarejo said.

Bryan Ramos, 28, who received his Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication, said UTRGV provided him with opportunities to jump-start his career.

“I got involved on campus by working for The Rider, the UTRGV student newspaper, which gave me amazing opportunities to meet different students and staff,” said Ramos, who served as the newspaper’s sports editor. “UTRGV has been wonderful in the classroom and everything I could ask for in a university.”

Ramos, who is from Edinburg, said he chose to major in mass communication because he enjoys telling stories and believes broadcast and print journalism was the right route for him. In addition to working at The Rider, Ramos has also done freelance writing for local publications. He plans to continue freelancing while he searches for a full-time job as a sports journalist.

Enjoy success

Fall graduation celebrations had kicked off Friday evening, December 15, 2017, with about 600 prospective graduates from the UTRGV Brownsville Campus, who walked the stage at the McAllen Convention Center. Traditionally scheduled to be held outdoors on Friday evening on the Brownsville Campus Student Union Lawn, commencement for Brownsville-based students had to be moved to the indoor McAllen venue because of inclement weather forecasts for Friday evening.

A total of 2,693 prospective graduates walked during all four ceremonies.

Before concluding the joyful ceremonies, Dr. Patricia Álvarez McHatton, UTRGV Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, shared a few words of encouragement with the new university alumni.

“Graduates, while you may think you reached the end of your journey, in reality, this is simply a layover as you explore new beginnings and consider what the next chapter in your life will be,” McHatton said.
“Enjoy every moment as you move forward. Relish your mistakes, as those are where you will learn the most. And celebrate your successes, big and small.”

About UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

••••••

Melissa Vásquez, Jennifer Berghom and J. Edward Moren 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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