First Endowment Established At Texas A&M Higher Education Center At McAllen
Longtime community leaders Marty and Rubén Hinojosa established the first endowment at Texas A&M University’s Higher Education Center (HEC) at McAllen. Their $250,000 gift, funded through the sale of real estate, creates the Martha L. ’88 and Rubén E. Hinojosa Endowed Professorship through the Texas A&M Foundation. It will support a professor in science, technology, engineering, math, medicine or energy (STEM&ME) who is pursuing cutting-edge teaching, research, service and professional development activities.
Rubén Eloy Hinojosa served as U.S. Representative for Texas’s 15th congressional district from 1997-2017.
“Congressman Hinojosa has long been a champion of education and the Rio Grande Valley, so it is only fitting that their generous gift creates the first endowed professorship for the McAllen Higher Education Center,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “The McAllen Center has been a huge success and will be a vital component of Texas A&M University forever.”
The Hinojosas’ gift was matched financially by a $250,000 gift from Texas A&M University. “Texas A&M has a large, vibrant and strong network of Aggies in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Texas A&M Provost and Executive Vice President Carol A. Fierke. “The establishment and continual expansion of the McAllen Center illustrates the university’s commitment to serving this thriving part of Texas by increasing opportunities for more area students to become Aggies and receive a world-class education.”
The Hinojosas said they are convinced the HEC will play a vital part in the region’s efforts to educate its rapidly growing population and to expand and diversify its economic base. “It’s a dream come true to have two outstanding flagships—Texas A&M and The University of Texas—create campuses in our area,” Congressman Hinojosa said. “These institutions are providing a highly recognized education that is readily accessible to the region’s students.”
Marty Hinojosa added: “Our community has demonstrated again and again that given equitable educational resources, we can transform the region. Our families will welcome the access to a Texas A&M education.”
To help ensure the center’s continued success, the Texas A&M Foundation is charged with raising and managing private endowed funds that can support HEC students, faculty and programs. “This gift will not only help attract and retain a leading faculty member for the McAllen Center, but will also positively touch every student who that professor teaches,” said Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel. “We are extremely grateful to Marty and Rubén for their vision, leadership and generosity.”
The HEC’s first cohort initially met at South Texas Community College in 2017 before moving operations to its 100-acre campus in 2018. Classes now meet in a new 65,000-square-foot building, which houses nine classrooms, nine labs and an auditorium. The new college campus is located at 6200 Tres Lagos Blvd.
Currently enrolling 240 students, the HEC offers four undergraduate degrees—interdisciplinary engineering, multidisciplinary engineering technology, biomedical sciences and public health—as well as a Master of Public Health degree. University officials plan to expand the number of majors offered to 11 by fall 2021 and foresee that the center’s enrollment will quickly climb.
“The four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley comprise almost 2 million people and graduate approximately 26,000 high school graduates annually, which is more than the number of graduates in one-third of U.S. states,” said Adolfo Santos, assistant provost of the HEC. “We are working to create educational opportunities for this huge young population. We’re giving students a chance to be Texas A&M Aggies in a more intimate environment with smaller class sizes and a smaller student-faculty ratio.”
Marty and Rubén Hinojosa
During his 20-year tenure serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Rubén Hinojosa devoted much of his time to increasing access and affordability for higher education students, especially Latinos. Prior to that, he was elected to the Mercedes ISD school board, the South Texas Community College board and the Texas State Board of Education. He also played an active role in South Texas ISD and The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.
Marty, a 1988 College of Architecture graduate of Texas A&M University, is president of FiRM Consultants and presently serves as lead architect for Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg. She plays an active role in the Rio Grande Valley community, including serving on the Driscoll Children’s Hospital Board and the Driscoll Foundation Board.
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aspires to be among the most trusted philanthropies in higher education. It builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time. To learn more, visit txamfoundation.com.