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WESLACO, RGV – The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Rio Grande Valley Engineering Initiative received a total of $60,000 from the City of Weslaco and the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation.

Steven Tallant, president of Texas A&M University-Kingsville (A&M Kingsville), and Weslaco mayor David Suarez signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Weslaco, the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and A&M Kingsville.

Mohammad Alum, A&M Kingsville’s engineering dean, said the City of Weslaco and Weslaco EDC are each donating $30,000 to the A&M Kingsville Rio Grande Valley Engineering Initiative to help build the facilities in Weslaco so that the university can offer classes in a state-of-the-art classroom. This facility will be A&M Kingsville’s fourth location in the RGV.

“This event means a lot to the Rio Grande Engineering Initiative,” Tallant said. “The success of the Initiative depends on partnerships like the ones we are honoring today. … Together, we’re going to ensure that your students get a great education.”

A&M Kingsville offers courses in three different locations in the Rio Grande Valley. The university began offering classes in Weslaco in 1948 at the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center. A&M Kingsville also has Initiative courses taught at South Texas College Mid Valley Campus in Weslaco and on the Texas State Technical College campus in Harlingen.

There are about 34 students participating in the Initiative and A&M Kingsville hopes to increase that number to 100 within the next academic year.

“I’d like to encourage and invite the student population here that we offer great educational opportunities for local student sand they should take advantage of that,” Alum said. “The university is also offering financial incentives so that they can take classes here. We offer a $500 credit for each course so that’s a great incentive for local students to get enrolled in our college.”

Alum said one reason why A&M Kingsville wants to open a facility in Weslaco is because the majority of students want to stay in the region and the university wants to make sure that students have access to higher education.

“It’s big for us because they’re talking about an official partnership and we’re working on getting that branch campus here,” Suarez said. “And I think that’s in the next three to five years. This is the beginning of a long term partnership and A&M Kingsville’s commitment to Weslaco and the whole Rio Grande Valley.”