HARLINGEN, RGV – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has been granted a $6 million grant to its College of Liberal Arts by the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation.

The grant was awarded to help develop a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology that will approximately take up to five years to complete.

“This grant is another example of the Rio Grande Valley investing in the future of UTRGV,” UTRGV Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Dr. Kelly Cronin said. “Philanthropy is a critical component of our success.”

Judy Quisenberry
Judy Quisenberry

The UTRGV clinical psychology program is looking to recruit highly qualified graduate students with diverse cultural backgrounds and will educate students into becoming research-oriented clinical psychologists. Students will also acquire clinical knowledge and skills specific to Hispanic populations.

“Mental health is a priority funding area for the foundation,” grants director for the Legacy Foundation, Judy Quisenberry said. “We hope this program bolsters our local workforce and addresses the shortage of psychologists we have in the Valley.”

Quisenberry said the mission of the Valey Baptist Legacy Foundation is to invest in and serve as a catalyst for ideas, partnerships, medical education, research and programs that improve the health and quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley. The Foundation defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being. The foundation was founded in 1976.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the grant is a shining example of the Valley’s support for the university and its students.

“We are grateful to the Legacy Foundation for their generosity, and value the opportunities for success this partnership will provide for so many UTRGV graduate students,” Bailey said. “Our partnership will be increasingly important as we expand this university and continue to contribute to the health-related needs of the Valley.”

Graduates of this program will be qualified as clinical practitioners, working directly with mental health consumers. They will also be able to teach up and coming clinical psychologists and conduct their own research.

The grant will also be used to create two mental health clinics and will provide Graduate assistantships for students in the Ph.D. program.

Many such as Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, UTRGV provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, hope that this program will serve to increase the number of Psychological professionals that will stay in the Valley. Another long-term outcome for this program is to promote the innovation of new methods for treating mental health issues among Hispanics.

“Every day, we watch as UTRGV students study hard and work to improve their lives,” Rodríguez said, “We are pleased to know that the Legacy Foundation believes in our students as much as we do, and has chosen to make this substantial investment in their futures.”

To learn more about the Ph.D. in clinical psychology, contact Dr. Joseph Hovey, department chair of Psychological Science and principal investigator for the Ph.D. Program project, at [email protected], or call (956) 665-3329.

To learn more about the university’s partnership with the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, contact Cronin at [email protected], or (956) 665-5301; or Felipe Salinas, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, at [email protected], or (956) 665-3298.