Sunday, November 1, 2009

NAI RGV to Attend the ICSC Conference in San Antonio

ICSC Conference in San Antonio Novemebr 2-4 click here for more information.

STC to host symposium reflecting on the Valley's past, present and future

STC to host symposium reflecting on the Valley's past, present and future
Jennifer L. Berghom

The Monitor

McALLEN — South Texas College is hosting a symposium next week that looks at how much the Rio Grane Valley has changed and where it is headed.

The Old Valley/New Valley: Analyzing the Past, Present, and Future of the Lower Rio Grande Valley symposium will be at the college’s Cooper Center Nov. 4 to 7. It will include discussions the Valley’s history from its colonial days to its position as a center of international commerce, said Trinidad Gonzales, an STC history professor and organizer of the event.

The symposium will include panel discussions on issues related to the area’s growth, including population shifts, education and the economy, as well as Hispanic culture, Gonzales said. The healthcare panel listed on previous flyers has been cancelled, he added.

Presenters are expected to show trends reflecting how the Valley has changed from its days as an agrarian society to a growing urban international trade center.

The symposium will also touch on how the Valley is becoming more diverse, with people from other parts of the country, as well as the world, have been moving into the area, Gonzales said.

“We’re at an interesting time. We’re at a turning point,” Gonzales said.

Of note is a session scheduled for Nov. 5 where five experts from both sides of the border will discuss the past, present and future of the Valley’s economy, according to the college.

Gonzales said the idea for the symposium came from a professor from the University of Texas at Austin he was talking to when he attended a conference in that city more than a year ago. Gonzales and the UT professor, José Limón, were discussing how the Valley had grown, especially over the past couple of decades and decided it would be a good idea to bring together experts to reflect on the area’s evolution as well as its future, Gonzales said.

“We decided to shoot for it. We didn’t think we were going to get it,” Gonzales said.

With a $20,000 matching grant from the University of Texas — UT and STC each pitched in $10,000 — Gonzales and his staff spent the next year and a half developing the symposium.

“We shot for the stars but we were also pragmatic,” he said.

Gonzales said he hopes the symposium will attract everyone from policy makers to the average citizen interested in learning about the area’s history and where it is headed.

“Knowledge is important,” he said. “We’re trying to serve our constituency.”