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Brownsville Student Receives Rio Grande Valley Scholarship

Giving News

University staff members Audra Piñeda Strubbe and Wendy Anderson welcome Garcia to the Forty Acres.

University staff members Audra Piñeda Strubbe and Wendy Anderson welcome Garcia to the Forty Acres.

Stephen “Michael” Garcia, a 2015 Homer Hanna High School graduate, began his Longhorn education at The University of Texas at Austin this year. Named the newest recipient of the Rio Grande Valley Scholarship, Garcia will receive full tuition to the university for four years.

A well-rounded and active student, Garcia, a National Honor Society member, graduated in the top 5% of his class. He played trumpet in the marching band, participated on the Math Team, acted as a physics tutor, and even competed in chess. Garcia has been accepted into the College of Natural Sciences as a TIP Scholar and plans to study biology in hopes of becoming a neurologist. He is also a new member of the Longhorn Band. The fourth recipient of this scholarship, Garcia says he has always been a Longhorn at heart, and he wants to prove to those who have invested in him that they made the right choice.

“Like many in high school, going to college is a financial hardship. This scholarship brought relief and joy to both my parents and myself,” says Garcia. “My goal for the next four years is to inspire those back home and to become a successful student at UT.”

Established in 2011 in a partnership between UT Austin and Texas Exes, the scholarship strives to provide opportunity for high-achieving students in South Texas. Brownsville Community Foundation supported the effort with a $10,000 challenge donation and was met with great favor by community businesses such as Valley Baptist Health System, Falcon Bank, Burton McCumber & Cortez, Lone Star National Bank, and Rio Bank, along with area UT alumni to make this scholarship possible.

“Providing a deserving Brownsville student with the means to attend The University of Texas was a unique opportunity that dovetails with our mission. We hope Michael will obtain his degree and return to our community to share his abilities and encourage others to aspire to higher education,” says Mary Lou Ryan Ray, board president of Brownsville Community Foundation.

Funded by $600,000 in endowed funds as well as additional annual gifts, the Rio Grande Valley Scholarship Program aims to fund one new scholar from the Upper, Middle, or Lower Rio Grande Valley each year. Scholars receive a $10,000 annual award to The University of Texas at Austin, renewable for four years, and are selected by Rio Grande Valley alumni and friends based on financial need, excellence in academics, leadership, and community service.

Interested in supporting students like Michael Garcia? Click here to make a gift to the Rio Grande Scholarship Program.



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