Some city councilmembers say an unfortunate loss for the University of Texas-Pan American, president Blandina “Bambi” Cardenas announcement to resign, will not stop the progress initiated by city officials and UTPA during her tenure.

Gus Garcia spoke to the Edinburg Review following the City Council meeting on Jan. 20, the same day Cardenas announced her resignation. Garcia said that despite the sad news, everyone in city government and at UTPA is one the same page to keep progress, and UTPA’s current legislative agenda, on track as the 81st Legislative session kicks off.

Cardenas, 64, has been UTPA president for the past four and a half years and said she will vacate her position later this week on Jan. 31. Citing health reasons, Cardenas underwent quadruple bypass heart surgery Sept. 2007.

“I’m in shock to be quite honest,” Garcia said about Cardenas impending departure. “I’m saddened we are going to lose an icon and a community leader and someone I feel works very hard for the university (but) the university is a living entity that doesn’t die when one person goes,” Garcia said.

“It’s going to continue, and everyone understands that. I don’t think it’s going to stop the progress,” he said.

Most projects between the university and the city involve right of ways and easements, that enable the school to “grow within the city,” according to Garcia.

“Anytime you lose a leader, especially the president of the university, it’s going to have an impact in the legislature. It is going to be a loss, but I feel that some of the other personnel, some of the other leaders are up to the challenge. They are very effective leaders and speakers and they can definitely get the university’s agenda across.”

Cardenas previously said the university was bracing itself for a tough legislative session at an Edinburg Chamber Governmental Affairs luncheon on Nov. 20.

She said a decline in sales tax revenues as well as state agencies tied to the Stock Market make the outcome of the 81st a mystery when it comes to public funding.

The school usually has a limited opportunity to make requests of the legislature even under the best of economic times, Cardenas told the Review at the time.

The university is currently looking for increased funding for institutional enhancement money including GAF funding for academic and performing arts centers. The school has also requested a significant increase in funding its Cooperative Pharmacy doctorate.