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MCALLEN, Texas – The people of the Rio Grande Valley do not realize what a gem they have in South Texas College.

This is the view of the president of STC’s board of trustees, Rose Benavidez.

Benavidez, pictured above, held a news conference on Thursday to name a sole finalist for president of the college (Ricardo Solis), announce a one-time payment for all employees, and present STC’s most recent state and national rankings.

“One of the things that is probably most troubling to me is that we have this great faculty, we’ve had this great president, we expect to have an amazing president coming forward, yet every single time that our record is recognized, we know about that within our own internal confines,” said Benavidez, during the news conference. 

“And that is unfortunate for this region, it is unfortunate for the students that we serve, it is unfortunate for the taxpayers that subsidize a lot of the work we do because we absolutely know that is critical and vital for people to know that South Texas College is a premier institution, not just in this region but all over the country.”

Benavidez listed some of the recent accolades won by STC. 

The college is No. 1 in the nation for “Most Affordable Online College for Bachelor Degrees.” This is according to Online College Plan. It is No. 1 in the nation for “Most Affordable Associate Degree in Nursing Program.” That is according to NursingSchoolHub. STC is ranked No. 1 in Texas as 2021 “Best Online Community College. That is according to Premium Schools. It is ranked 2nd for “Safest College Campuses in Texas.” That is according to Niche Rankings. And, STC’s LVN Program is ranked in the Top 15 out of more than 60 colleges for “Best LVN Programs in Texas” for 2021. That is according to NursingProcess.org. 

Since its creation 27 years ago, STC has expanded to include over 28,000 students each semester on five campuses in Hidalgo and Starr counties, along with the STC Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence, two higher education centers and a virtual campus. 

STC offers 127 degree and certificate options, and 36 fully online programs. It is authorized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to offer Bachelor of Applied Technology and Bachelor of Applied Science degrees.

In a news release, the interim president of STC, Dr. David Plummer said: “It is no small task to achieve such growth with nationally merited scholarships and excellence. It takes bold planning, creative ideas, committed partnerships, outstanding faculty and staff, a supportive board of trustees, and an unwavering commitment to transform the quality of life in our communities.”

In her remarks at the news conference, Benavidez pointed out STC continues to be ranked first in enrolling Hispanics and in graduating Hispanics. She said this is a direct result of the work the administration, faculty and staff, as well as the policies of the board of trustees has supported.

“But what is unfortunate, like I mentioned earlier, is that many of these accolades, and these are only a few, go unnoticed by the people who most need to know that the college that they choose is the right college for them,” Benavidez said.

“So we are hopeful that, moving forward, each one of these accolades is not something that we talk about as a history of excellence but a standard that South Texas College has set that is being replicated throughout the country and replicated in this region as a model to follow.”

Talking about the news conference, Benavidez said the board wondered aloud how to get the media to South Texas College. Picking a sole finalist for president and talking about being No. 1 “in a lot of areas that a lot of people don’t know,” would help, she said.

“It is unfortunate because when you hear more about that today and read through that, you are going to find is that South Texas College is not only an amazing institution that is highly respected by its peers and students, but, more importantly, that the work that faculty, staff and administration and my colleagues on the board have done reverberates throughout the entire country.”

In a Q&A with reporters, the Rio Grande Guardian asked Benavidez how it planned to get greater recognition for its accolades in the Valley. She responded:

“I don’t think the message is not getting out there. More, it is not resonating the way that we would like it to. So, I know that we are going to dig deep and find a way to make certain that we are not patting ourselves on the back here internally. Because we know we do great work. But that the community and our business and higher ed partners and all our stakeholders are aware of some of the great work that we are doing. And so we will absolutely develop a plan to ensure… and if that means calling more press conferences, if that means being out in the community more and not being shy about saying the great things that are happening here, then that is what we will have to do.”


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