MCALLEN – This evening, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will hold an awards dinner to recognize the 2018 Distinguished Alumni for their career achievements and commitment to improving their communities. Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa will be one of the honorees for his many contributions to UTRGV.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor UTRGV alumni can receive. The award recognizes high-achieving individuals who stand out in their fields and have made significant contributions to society. Recipients of this award have honored the legacy of excellence at UTRGV and its legacy institutions through their accomplishments, affiliations, careers, and philanthropic endeavors.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my alma mater with the Distinguished Alumni Award. I have dedicated my legislative career to improving our education system and increasing access to higher education opportunities for our region. Education is the best equalizer we have in our society. Education gives you knowledge, and knowledge gives you the power to succeed.”
Upon returning from his service in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine, Senator Hinojosa enrolled at Pan American College and graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
In 1989, as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, Hinojosa was the lead sponsor of the legislation that merged Pan American University and Pan American University at Brownsville with The University of Texas System. At that time, Pan American University enrolled 11,200 students in Edinburg and 1,500 students in Brownsville.
In 1997, as a member of the Appropriations Committee in the Texas House, Hinojosa secured $30 million for the construction of the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) in Harlingen, paving the way for the creation of a medical school in the Rio Grande Valley.
As a state senator, Hinojosa has worked tirelessly and has secured millions of dollars in construction funds for UTRGV including: $39.7 million for the Fine Arts Complex at the University of Texas – Pan American, in 2006, and $30.6 million for construction of an interdisciplinary engineering academic studies building at the campus in Edinburg, in 2015.
Lastly, in 2013, Senator Hinojosa authored and passed Senate Bill 24, the legislation that merged UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville and created a free standing medical school. Since 1989, Senator Hinojosa’s efforts have expanded educational opportunities and created greater access to health care and improved the quality of life in the RGV.
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa proudly represents the counties of Nueces, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Hidalgo (part). Senator Hinojosa served as the Senate President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate in the 84th Texas Legislature. Senator Hinojosa currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and serves on the Senate Committees on Natural Resources & Economic Development, Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs and Transportation.