MEDIA ADVISORY: UT Austin President to Welcome Incoming Students at Rio Grande Valley Send-Off in Brownsville

EVENT: The 2014 Student Send-Off will honor 105 new students from the lower Rio Grande Valley who are about to attend The University of Texas at Austin. This year marks the 21st anniversary of this event, which will feature Bill Powers, president of the university.

WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 6 at 6 p.m.

WHERE: International Bank of Commerce, 1600 FM 802, Brownsville, Texas.

WHO MAY ATTEND: The Brownsville Chapter of the Texas Exes, the university's alumni association which hosts the event, has invited the incoming students and their parents to attend the celebration. News media representatives also are welcome to attend.

BACKGROUND: The Rio Grande Valley send-offs provide Austin-bound students and their parents an opportunity to talk with university officials about the transition to campus life. They began in 1993 as a partnership between the university and constituents in the Rio Grande Valley to welcome students and assure parents that students are in good hands. The Rio Grande Valley model became so successful that similar send-offs were later started in other areas of Texas.

The university has established the Valley Admissions Center at 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd. in Harlingen to assist high school students interested in attending The University of Texas at Austin.

University and Texas Exes representatives traveling from Austin for the event include Oscar Casares, associate professor of English. He is a native of Brownsville and a UT Austin alumnus who is the author of two noted books, a novel and a collection of stories that have earned him fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copernicus Society of America and the Texas Institute of Letters.

Sergio Cavazos of Brownsville, a sophomore at The University of Texas at Austin who represents the College of Liberal Arts in Student Government, and Susie Smith, director of the Texas Parents Association, also will speak during the event.