South Texas College is more than just another institution of higher learning. It is an example of how forward-thinking vision and leadership can transform a community.

From its inception in 1993, this educational powerhouse has blended a traditional college education with valuable professional and vocational programs to level the playing field for so many residents in the Rio Grande Valley who had previously been unable to pursue a first- class education.

From the first day the Texas legislature signed STCC into existence, this unique institution has been fortunate to have strong leaders who saw the needs of our community and the opportunity it could provide. STC’s first President, Shirley Reed, was blessed with a committed and supportive Board of Trustees, which over the years included community leaders like the late Mike Allen, outgoing board member Gary Gurwitz, current Board Chair Rose Benavidez, Paul Rodriguez, Dr. Alejo Salinas and many others. These men and women saw that this school could serve as the pathway to the academic and economic success which had, for too long, eluded so many in our region. With Mr. Gurwitz now having decided not to run for re-election, and with a talented and dedicated new president at the helm in Dr. Ricardo Solis, I am seeking a position as a Trustee to maintain, and build upon, the legacy of those visionaries who came before me.  

STC must continually work to increase the access and affordability that has been its hallmark, build upon the programs and resources offered to students, and ensure that all is done in a fiscally prudent manner. STC serves a tremendously broad role in education and job readiness for those that live in our community: from high school students seeking dual-credit to reduce college expenses, to young adults seeking a quality and affordable college education, to older adults transitioning from one industry to another, and importantly, to the certificate and other professional programs being offered to those filling our local workforce. One shining example of this latter function is the nursing program at STC, which has produced over 400 new nurses just this past year, exceeding any other provider of new, qualified nurses able to staff our local hospitals and care for our community.

In addition, STC is well-positioned to help returning military Veterans pursue an education and find meaningful roles in our workforce and where they can contribute their leadership. We owe a debt to our Veterans. Likewise, we have an obligation to our taxpayers to ensure that we are careful and thoughtful stewards of the financial investment we  all make in supporting this mission to improve the lives of our citizens and the community in which they live, work and raise their families.

Empowerment through education should not be reserved for only those who can afford it.  Indeed, empowering those who are the least able to pay should be the goal. We do the right thing by educating those of us with the greatest need and the smart thing by raising the ability of our workforce to take on the demands offered by the ever-increasing need for an educated, and well-paid, work force.  

I am a product of McAllen and the local schools. I have invested my own money and reputation building numerous businesses and creating hundreds of jobs locally and through the State of Texas. I have served on countless civic and community boards and I understand our local education and workforce needs. I know how to build a strong culture and to manage large budgets, blending the capabilities of an organization with its financial realities for maximum impact. My entire professional life in the RGV has been about improving our community, and if elected, I will commit to validate your faith in me as a successor to the legacy of excellence we have had in the past and to carefully manage your investment in our future.  

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by McAllen businessman Michael Fallek, a candidate for the South Texas College board of trustees. The column appears in the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service with the permission of the author. Fallek can be reached by email via: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian International News Service is running a series of guest columns from candidates running for the South Texas College board of trustees. For those candidates who have yet to pen a column but would like to, please email Steve Taylor at: [email protected]


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