UTRGV Brownsville Commencement Relocates to McAllen Conventi
BROWNSVILLE – The University of Rio Grande Valley’s decision to move graduation from its Brownsville campus to the McAllen Convention Center was the best possible option, said the university president, after complaints Thursday.
On Wednesday, UTRGV announced the planned outdoor commencement at the Brownsville campus had to be moved over inclement weather concerns, a spokesperson said in a statement.
The choice of a new venue 50 miles away from campus affected at least one family. Alexandra Mendoza said her uncle, cousins, and brother will not be able to come.
"My mom's going to be the only one," said Mendoza, "she's trying her best to make it to the ceremony there in McAllen."
Mendoza posted an online petition asking the university to change the commencement date rather than move the location.
The university considered alternative indoor venues and possibly changing the date, said UTRGV President Guy Bailey in a written statement. In the end, both options appeared impractical.
"Please know that we explored every indoor facility in Cameron County and not one can accommodate our nearly 600 graduates and their families," said Bailey, "with the maximum capacity being less than 2000 as compared to the 5000 we need."
The option of changing the date was difficult because families had set travel plans and vendors could not make short notice schedule changes, he said.
"We cannot conduct commencement without vendors who provide the set up for chairs, stage, acoustics, etc.," said Bailey.
UTRGV said it will offer shuttle services from Brownsville to McAllen to families who need transportation.
Shuttles will leave the Brownsville campus at 4 p.m., arriving at the McAllen Convention Center at 5:30 p.m.
The shuttles will return to Brownsville by 11:30 p.m.