The Texas Exes’ Rio Grande Valley Scholars Program
Some partnerships just make sense.
The Rio Grande Valley is a region that appreciates the value of giving its young people the best education possible. That is why it has teamed with The University of Texas at Austin to bring high-achieving students from the Valley to the state’s premier public university.
UT Austin recognizes the important role the Rio Grande Valley plays in creating the best student body possible, one with a diverse mix of students that reflects the state’s growing population. Valley residents support this goal as well but know that finances can sometimes stand in the way of even their highest achievers.
Thus the Valley community has partnered with the university and Texas Exes to fund scholarships that will bring the Valley’s best students to UT Austin. Students like Christine Nott, who is the second recipient of the Rio Grande Valley Scholarship.
Christine is an honors graduate of Harlingen High School South, where she ranked fourth in her class of 383. Her many student leadership positions included heading up her local 4-H Club, serving as the captain of her varsity softball team, and volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House and Salvation Army. As a member of UT’s Class of 2017, Christine will work toward degrees in nutrition and psychology in pursuit of a career in medicine.
“I would like to say thank you so much to everyone who helped make this scholarship possible,” she says. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to advance my education and to represent the Rio Grande Valley at UT. I’m appreciative that there are people willing to support not only the education of the youth of the Valley, but the community as a whole through the support of education.”
The Texas Exes’ Rio Grande Valley Scholars Program can make a college education possible for some of the Valley’s most deserving students. The program offers $10,000 renewable scholarships to Valley residents who, like Christine, demonstrate financial need and show excellence in academics, leadership, and community service.
Scholars are chosen by alumni and friends who are community leaders from the Upper, Mid, and Lower Rio Grande Valley. “This scholarship is about giving kids from the Valley an opportunity they wouldn’t have otherwise, and it’s been exciting to see it grow,” says Brownsville’s Nick Serafy, who serves on the scholarship steering committee. “Christine has had a lot of successes already, and I have no doubt that she’s going to be a very successful leader at UT.”
Why we support this important program.
“The transition from leaving my family and close-knit McAllen community and stepping foot on the vast Forty Acres was a challenge at first,” says Annie Holand Miller. “But after I got settled, there was no place I would have rather been and it changed my life forever.
“This program will help bridge the gap between the Valley and The University of Texas at Austin,” says the former UT student-body president, “particularly for students and their families who never thought it possible to attend UT.”
Dr. Nolan E. Perez, a Valley native who lives and practices medicine in Harlingen, agrees. “The time is now for those of us who have been fortunate enough to make this journey before,” he says. “It is our time to help ensure that future generations of the best and brightest Valley graduates have the opportunity to attend our state’s premier institution.
“One of the most important features of these scholarships is their renewability. So many times, students head off to college with plenty of scholarship support and aid for their first year, but after that there’s little financial assistance to help them finish. The RGV Scholars Program creates an opportunity for financial support throughout a student’s educational career at UT.”
How can you help?
Consider investing in the endowment that will permanently endow the Rio Grande Valley Scholars Program. So far, more than 100 donors have contributed a collective $260,000 — in gifts ranging from $25 to $75,000 — toward a total endowment goal of $600,000 to bring the Valley’s best students to UT.
When completely funded, the program will support full scholarships for up to three students a year. While a generous grant from the Raul Tijerina Jr. Foundation is funding Christine’s scholarship, an additional scholar can be selected once the endowment total has reached $400,000, and another when a total of $600,000 has been achieved.
Together, The University of Texas at Austin and the Valley can send deserving youth to one of the finest universities in the nation. We can send them to a university that does more than pave the way for their future — it celebrates who they are today.
To make a gift to the Rio Grande Valley Scholars Program now, visit UT’s online giving form. For instructions on making a gift of stocks or mutual funds, matching gifts, or for additional information about the program, please contact Wendy Anderson at 512-232-2300, or Audra Pineda Strubbe at 512-471-4116.
You may also wish to consider making a recurring or sustaining monthly donation, which will provide ongoing support to bring the best Valley students to the university. With a recurring gift you can pay out a pledge over a selected number of months or years. A sustaining gift will repeat monthly or yearly until you decide to stop it. Visit the online giving form and select “Recurring Gift” or “Sustaining Gift,” or call 800-687-4602 to set up your gift by phone.