McALLEN The University of Texas-Pan American Office of Alumni Relations and the UTPA Alumni Association hosted its first outreach event for former students on Oct. 18 at IBC Bank corporate headquarters.

More than 100 UTPA alumni and friends attended the UTPA Alumni Association Mixer, which was the second of a series of events the association plans to host throughout the Rio Grande Valley to connect with the University's graduates and garner more members. (The association hosted a mixer in Pharr in August.)

UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen greeted alumni and others who attended the event and encouraged them to stay in touch with the University and support its mission to educate the Rio Grande Valley.

"Be proud of your University," Nelsen said. "This University has transformed South Texas, but we need to do more. We need to graduate more students from our University. We need you to get involved and join us in transforming this region."

Also in attendance was McAllen Mayor Richard Cortez, also a UTPA alumnus, who presented UTPA with a $60,000 check to support operations at the University's McAllen Teaching Site. The University and the City of McAllen formed a partnership in 2009 to lease a 10,000-square-foot facility in the Main Place Shopping Center, located at 1800 S. Main St., adjacent to La Plaza Mall. The teaching site houses graduate-level and continuing education courses, as well English Language Institute classes.

McAllen contributes money every year to continue the teaching site's operations.

"We need to work harder to produce more University graduates," Nelsen said. "This is what we will need to change this region. This partnership with the City of McAllen is helping us reach that goal."

The alumni association supports the University through fundraising events and providing services for its members, including networking and community service opportunities, said Arnoldo Mata, UTPA Alumni Association vice president for membership.

Members are also eligible for a number of benefits, such as receiving alumni newsletters and invitations to alumni dinners, social activities, athletic events and reunions. Members also receive free admission to the University Theatre PASS and Main Stage productions, special discount programs on credit cards, insurance car rental and local business discounts, UTPA Library privileges, eligibility to nominate or receive an Alumni Award, can post listings in selected alumni publications and can attend BroncBusters dinners.

"We do hold a couple of major fundraising events each year and all our funds are committed to scholarships for UTPA students," Mata said.

Upcoming events include the UTPA Classic Skeet Shoot Nov. 19, the Fourth Annual UTPA Alumni Used Book Sale Feb. 11, 2012, the UTPA Alumni Gala Feb. 17, 2012, and the Homecoming Weekend Tailgate and Reunion Feb. 18, 2012.

For more information, call the UTPA Alumni Association at 956-665-2500 or email alumni@utpa.edu.