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      UT Board of regents approves UTB, UTPA merger

      UTPA President Robert Nelson

      The University of Texas Board of Regents has voted to merge UTPA and UTB as a way to bring a medical school to the Rio Grande Valley.

      The Board of Regents met in Austin on Thursday morning.

      One of their agenda items was to merge the two universities as a means to increase funding and make the Valley competitive in landing a medical school.

      Both UTB President Juliet V. Garcia and UTPA President Robert Nelsen spoke at the meeting in support of the plan to merge the schools.

      The meeting ended with the Board of Regents voting to merge the two schools to create a new university that includes a medical school.

      One of the proposed names for the new school is the University for the Americas in the Rio Grande Valley.

      The proposed university would serve as a bridge between the Texas and the United States with Mexico and Latin America.

      But the merger must be approved by the Texas Legislature when lawmakers meet in Austin in January.

      Texas State Rep. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) said he supports the measure and will push for it in the legislature.