The University of Texas System has released five names in consideration for the new regional school comprised of assets from the University of Texas at Brownsville and UT-Pan American in Edinburg.
The names — University of Texas for the Americas, University of Texas Las Americas, University of Texas International, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and University of Texas South — were released in a UT System video with varying sample logos and colors.
Although the UT System Board of Regents will make the final decision, System Spokeswoman Jenny LaCoste-Caputo said regents really wanted to engage the community and listen to its opinions about the future school’s name. People can submit their own suggestions through the UT System Facebook page, via Twitter by using the hashtag #ProjectSouthTX or by calling (512) 499-4473.
Comments can also be sent by email to ProjectSouthTX@utsystem.edu.
“We wanted people to conveniently weigh in,” LaCoste-Caputo said.
To that end, the system also included a phone number for those who may not have internet connection, she said.
“We didn’t want to exclude anyone,” she said.
The suggested names have not been proposed by a committee, but have instead been suggested by stakeholders, according to LaCoste-Caputo.
“These are not official proposals or proposed names,” LaCoste-Caputo said. “These are just names we kept hearing bubbling up from sources.”
Some suggestions were made by regents, and others from stakeholders. In some cases, LaCoste-Caputo said, some names were just heard over and over again.
Though each name had it’s own logo, those are not official, LaCoste-Caputo said. According to information in the video, the conceptual logos are “simply visual aids.”
“When you’re looking at a name, just to see it in plain text, it doesn’t really pop,” said LaCoste-Caputo. “We wanted to present them in a way that was engaging and interesting, but we don’t know what the new university colors will be or what the branding will be.”
The president of the new university, who will be named in the spring, along with input from the campus community, will choose the mascot and the school colors, according to a system press release.
By mid-afternoon, The UT System had a lengthy conversation going on Twitter with people tweeting their own suggestions for names or chiming in with their opinions.
An overwhelming unscientific tally of the votes on Twitter had UTRGV in the lead with the most support. On the University of Texas System Facebook page, responses were more varied. Some social media users were submitting their own ideas: University of Texas South Texas, UT Borderlands, UT Pan Border, University of Texas Southern Region, University of Texas Fronteras, University of Texas International at the Rio Grande Valley, among others.
One Brownsville Herald reader commented online, “I think it doesn’t really matter what the community thinks at this point. The only reason, I believe, the UT System is allowing citizens to submit proposals is because there is no clear decision as to which names to choose. I don’t think they’ll pick a name other than those already mentioned unless it is an extremely good idea and can gain enough support.”
LaCoste-Caputo, with the UT System, said that they had already received some phone calls during the first day of the campaign. Votes and suggestions can be submitted through Dec. 6. The UT System Board of Regents is expected to decide on a name by the end of this year.
“It’s a fun thing for us to see,” LaCoste-Caputo said. “It’s really working.”