MCALLEN, RGV – The sole Rio Grande Valley resident on the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ board of directors said heads turned in the boardroom when he spoke with pride about the UTRGV School of Medicine.

Robert L. Lozano, a Dairy Queen franchisee owner and operator from Pharr, is on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ San Antonio branch. This role requires him to attend board meetings in Dallas. At a recent board meeting, Lozano gave a report on some of the big things happening in the Valley. He spoke about the recent white coat ceremony for new UTRGV School of Medicine students.

Robert L. Lozano
Robert L. Lozano

“It is a privilege to get to report on the RGV and all the good things that are going on here. To be able to put the white coat ceremony in our report and watch the people’s heads snap and look over at me was special,” Lozano told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“We have 55 new doctors, coming up from all over the country, so many accomplished people, choosing to come down here. The white coat ceremony was a very moving ceremony and it obviously moved some people up there in Dallas. They obviously took note about the great things that are going on in the Rio Grande Valley.”

White coat ceremonies are a rite of passage for medical students about to enter the medical profession. Donning a white coat means the student is ready to treat patients as a professional for the first time, albeit in a residency program.

Lozano chairs the McAllen Economic Development Corporation’s board of directors. He referenced the UTRGV School of Medicine’s white coat ceremony after Theresa A. Maldonado, senior vice president for research, innovation, and economic development for UTRGV, gave a report to the McAllen EDC board.

In her remarks to the MEDC board, Maldonado said: “We are finishing up one year at UTRGV. It has been an exhausting year. A lot of good things have happened. We had the white coat ceremony for the school of medicine. Fifty-five brand new medical students are now on board and in class,” Maldonado said.

“We were told that there were over a thousand people in attendance to watch 55 medical students get donned with their white coats. I was told that the UT Austin medical school was not expecting ten percent of that. We had lots of family and friends in attendance. It was a fabulous ceremony.”

Lozano then referenced the interest the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas board of directors had shown. “You could see the heads popped up. They really took note of what is happening in the RGV. They knew it was a really proud moment for our area,” Lozano said.

Maldonado responded: “I have met the 55 medical school students. They are amazing. Really top notch. Well-prepared students. We are going to shine. They are something else.”

Interviewed by the Rio Grande Guardian later, Lozano said: “When you hear of good things going on in Austin, or a Houston or a Dallas, it is somewhat expected. But to hear a UTRGV medical school is bringing on their first group of medical students, that is really moving the needle. You know there is something special going on down here. That was just one of the great things happening here that I got to report on. It was a privilege.”

Lozano added: “All of us make a difference in our community and we here with McAllen EDC are doing our part. By day I will go out and make our hamburgers. We are just appreciative of all the people in our community who make a difference. I think we have great things ahead in store for the Rio Grande Valley.”