University of Texas–Pan American
Texas–Pan American seal.png
MottoScript error
Motto in EnglishEducation, the Guardian of Society
Active1927 (1927)–2015 (2015) (merged)
TypePublic state university
Endowment$65 million[1]
PresidentDr. Havidan Rodriguez (interim), final
Academic staff836 (2012)
Students20,053 (2013)[2]
LocationEdinburg, Texas, U.S.
CampusRural, Script error
ColorsGreen and Orange[1]
MascotBucky the Bronc
AffiliationsUniversity of Texas System
WebsiteScript error
UPTA Logo.svg

The University of Texas–Pan American (UTPA) was a state university located in Edinburg, Texas. Founded in 1927, it was a component institution of the University of Texas System. The university served the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas with baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. The Carnegie Foundation classified UTPA as a "doctoral research university". From the institution's founding until it was merged into the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), it grew from 200 students to over 20,000, making UTPA the tenth-largest university in the state of Texas. The majority of these students were natives of the Rio Grande Valley. UTPA also operated an Upper Level Studies Center in Rio Grande City, Starr County, Texas. On August 15, 2014, Dr. Havidan Rodriguez was appointed interim President of UTPA, the institution's final leader.

In 2015, UTRGV entered into operation following the merger of UTPA and UT–Brownsville, founded as an extension of then-Pan-American University at Texas Southmost College. UTRGV also created a new medical school.[1]

On August 31, 2015, UTPA formally ceased operations to yield to the newly formed university, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.[2]


Edinburg CollegeEdit

Founded in 1927 as a junior college administered by the Edinburg School District.

Edinburg Junior CollegeEdit

Designated as a junior college in 1933 and admitted to the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of Southern States.

Pan American CollegeEdit

Hidalgo County permitted to hold referendum for a four-year university in 1951; school became Pan American Regional College on December 20, 1951. Name changed to Pan American College following January 1952, appointment of a Board of Regents. First graduate to receive four–year degree was Harold W. Billings, B.A. 1953. Became 22nd member institution of the Texas System of Colleges and Universities in 1965, as a state senior college.

Pan American UniversityEdit

Approved to offer graduate programs in 1970, beginning with Master of Arts, Master of Education, and Master of Science. In 1971, achieved full university status and changed name to Pan American University. In 20-year period from 1965 to 1984, enrollment grew from 2,000 to nearly 10,000. Established second campus at Brownsville in 1973 (became University of Texas at Brownsville, later merged with University of Texas Rio Grande Valley).

The University of Texas–Pan AmericanEdit

In December 1988, board members reached merger agreement with the University of Texas System pending state legislative approval (one of a series of similar mergers among state universities during that time period), granted in September 1989. Adopted final name subsequent to entry into the UT System, preserving the nearly 40-year legacy of the Pan American name.[3]

Merger with UTB and Medical SchoolEdit

On December 6, 2012, University of Texas regents approved a proposal to merge UTPA, the University of Texas-Brownsville, and a planned medical school into one regional institution.[4] On December 12, 2013, the UT Board of Regents voted to name the new organization the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.[1]

On August 31, 2015, UTB was officially dissolved and UTPA's name was changed to The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.[2]


Main campusEdit

UTPA's main campus, now one of the primary campuses of UTRGV, is located in the western part of Edinburg, and comprises 289 acres.[5]

The majority of academic buildings are enclosed by or span a covered walk way that spans the perimeter of the original campus. In 2007 UTPA added a new wellness center,[6] and dormitory (Unity Dormitory 2007[7]). On the northeast corner of campus is the Edinburg Baseball Stadium, which is considered one of the premier college baseball settings. The stadium was completed in 2001.[8]

Starr County Upper-Level CenterEdit

The Starr Country Upper-Level Center is located in Rio Grande City. The center opened in 2003[9] and was rededicated and moved to a new location in 2009.[10] Most courses offered are in bilingual education. There are also limited courses in criminal justice, history, English, and anthropology.[11] As of 2009 over 200 students have graduated from the Starr County Upper-Level Center.[12]

Coastal Studies LaboratoryEdit

Established in 1973, the Coastal Studies Laboratory (CSL) began as UTPA's marine biology laboratory and now serves the same role for UTRGV. It is located in the city of South Padre Island, which is located approximately 70 miles east of main campus. The CSL offers graduate level biology courses and houses several ecological programs that are independent of UTPA.[13]

McAllen Teaching SiteEdit

The McAllen Teaching Site was opened in 2009 in McAllen, Texas and offers education and business courses. The site primarily serves professionals in the city of McAllen.[12]

Social Work program in LaredoEdit

Before the UTRGV merger, Laredo Community College was engaged in a partnership with UTPA to maintain a Social Work program in Laredo; this partnership continues with UTRGV. LCC president Juan L. Maldonado in 2013 was named "Public Citizen of the Year" by the South Texas branch of the National Association of Social Workers for his efforts in maintaining the program.[14]



The university offered a wide variety of degrees spanning across seven colleges. At the time of the UTRGV merger, there were 56 bachelor's degrees, 56 master's degrees, three doctoral degrees, and two cooperative doctoral programs.[15]


The University included the following seven academic divisions:

  • College of Arts and Humanities
  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • College of Health Sciences and Human Services
  • College of Science and Mathematics
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • College of Physics and Geology

Reserve Officers' Training CorpsEdit

  • The University of Texas–Pan American hosted the college-based Army ROTC program, which was carried on by UTRGV.


University rankings
Forbes[16] 516
U.S. News & World Report[17] RNP (West)
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[18] 19

U.S. News & World Report rated UTPA as a tier 2 University.[5]

In Forbes' 2009 best college rankings that heavily weighted proportion of graduates who obtain a job upon graduation, UTPA ranked 32 among public universities and 218 among all universities.[19] Among public schools in Texas, UTPA ranked only behind the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M.

In 2009 UTPA ranked behind only Florida International University for bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students.[20]

According to the U.S. government, among schools with an enrollment of at least 5,000 students, UTPA ranked as the 2nd most affordable school in the nation.[21]

Admissions, enrollment and retentionEdit

Ethnic enrollment,
Asian American 89 132 221
Hispanic 6,148 8,985 15,100
Non-Hispanic White 492 515 1,007
African American 59 56 115
Native American 8 10 18
Non Resident/Unknown 455 475 930
Not stated/Unknown 43 67 110
Total 7,294 10,240 17,534

Historically, UTPA had open enrollment such that any student able to graduate from an approved public or private high school was granted admission to the University. This policy was implemented by former president Miguel Nevarez. After Nevarez retired UTPA moved towards minimum admission standards. The minimum standards for Fall 2011 admission are a diploma from a recognized high school and a combined Math/Verbal SAT score of 860 or an ACT score of 18. Additionally the minimum criteria will be met with a SAT score of 810 or ACT score of 17 if the applicant is in the top third of his/her graduating class or an SAT score of 760 or ACT score of 16 will suffice if the applicant is in the top quarter of his/her graduating class.[22] Any student who graduates from a recognized Texas high school as a member of the top 10% of his/her graduating class is guaranteed admission.

In 1997, UTPA started the University Scholars Program in an attempt to retain top local high school students. The program is an objective academic scholarship based on three tiers. The first tier is high school graduation standing. The second tier is advanced placement testings. The third tier is standardized testing scores. UTPA will guarantee full tuition funding for any student who meets one of many objective minimum requirements in all three tiers.[23]

UTPA's first to second year retention rate for full-time students was 71%.[24] UTPA's 4-year graduation rate is 13% and the 6-year graduation rate is 36%.[24] The proportion of students who receive some sort of financial aid is 86%.

Student lifeEdit


All students under the age of 21 who have earned fewer than 30 credit hours are required to reside on campus unless they are married, a parent or have a permanent residence within 60 miles of campus.[25] UTPA offers three residence halls and one community of on-campus apartments. Troxel Hall and Heritage Hall are the oldest residence halls on campus and until 2000 were the only residence options for students. Heritage Hall is an all-female residence hall. At the end of 2009 Troxel Hall closed due to low capacity.[26] In 2000 the Bronc Village Apartments were completed on north campus and offered students 1, 2 and 4 bedroom options.[27] In fall 2006 Unity Hall was opened as the first new residence hall in more than 30 years; it has 204 double rooms and is divided into male and female wings.[28] Heritage Hall, Unity Hall and the Bronc Village apartments combined can hold approximately 800 students[28]



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Before the UTRGV merger, the University of Texas–Pan American sponsored eight men's and nine women's teams in NCAA sanctioned sports. About a year before the merger, the UT System announced that UTRGV would inherit the UTPA athletic program,[1] and the UTPA Broncs officially became the UTRGV Vaqueros on July 1, 2015.

Men's Intercollegiate SportsWomen's Intercollegiate Sports

The University of Texas–Pan American competed in the NCAA Division I, in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC); UTRGV has maintained UTPA's WAC membership. It is one of five schools in the University of Texas System that compete in Division I. The other UT institutions that do so are Austin, El Paso, San Antonio, and Arlington.


On November 5, 2014, UTRGV's new nickname of Vaqueros was announced.[2] Almost immediately, students on both campuses began objecting to the new name as a caricature and racial stereotype of Mexican, Latino, Chicano, and Hispanic culture.[3] Two days after the new mascot was approved, the UTPA student government passed a resolution in opposition, and three days later, hundreds of students rallied on the Edinburg campus to protest the new name.[4]



External linksEdit

Template:Edinburg, Texas

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