Regents vote to merge 2 colleges
new university, is intended to expand educational opportunities, health care and economic development in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a part of the state that is both fast-growing and poor.
“It’s a historic day for South Texas,” said Gene Powell, chairman of the Board of Regents, who grew up in Weslaco, in the heart of the region.
The plan needs legislative approval, but Powell expressed confidence, noting that merging UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan American would not cost the state anything and is projected to save about $6 million a year by eliminating duplicate services.
Under the state constitution, two-thirds votes in the House and Senate would be needed to make the combined university — for which a name has not been selected — eligible for funding from the Permanent University Fund, a multibillion-dollar endowment benefiting certain institutions in the UT System and Texas A&M University System.
The roughly $100 million a year that would flow to the new school would come out of the UT System’s two-thirds share of the fund and would not significantly erode pro-