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Robert and Janet Vackar have long made a name for themselves in running and expanding the Bert Ogden Auto Group across the Rio Grande Valley; it’s named after Janet Vackar’s father, who founded the business decades ago. The Vackars’ name also will live on as a result of their continued generosity to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The university announced Thursday that its athletic stadium, the former H-E-B Park which UTRGV acquired earlier this year, is now the Robert & Janet Vackar Stadium. The facility in Edinburg will be home to the university’s new football team, which starts play next year, as well as other sports.

The university said the name will remain in perpetuity — naming rights will not be offered to any corporate sponsor in the future.

Thursday’s news conference regarding the stadium included an announcement that the Vackars had donated $20 million to the university’s athletic program. It’s just the latest of the couple’s many donations, which total in the tens of millions.

The kind of investment the couple has made over the years is important for any university, but especially at a young institution like UTRGV, which is still in its first decade and is still building classroom buildings and other facilities across the Valley.

In referencing the university’s growth, President Guy Bailey on Thursday noted that “you don’t do that on your own. You need friends. You need people who believe in you, support you, even if they are not completely sure what you’re going to do. They have faith in you.

“Bob and Janet are those friends.”

Robert Vacker, Guy Bailey, Travis Bush and Janet Vacker laugh during a news conference as the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley renames UTRGV Stadium, formerly H-E-B Park, to the Robert & Janet Vackar Stadium Thursday, March 21, 2024, in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])

Indeed, their donations don’t just help finance facility development, they also help students earn degrees they might otherwise might not be able to afford. They include a $15 million business school endowment including the Robert C. Vackar Endowed Scholarship for entrepreneurship and the Janet Ogden Vackar Spirit of Philanthropy Endowed Scholarship in the school of mass communications.

The university previously has shown its gratitude by naming the business school the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

The Vackars’ generosity obviously isn’t just about getting their names put on buildings and stadiums. They have a long history of supporting benevolent organizations and causes in the Valley and nationwide. Janet Vackar in particular has served on several boards or lent her efforts to many organizations, ranging from the Easter Seals and Make a Wish foundations nationally to the Palmer Drug Abuse Program locally.

This is the kind of involvement that builds and improves communities. It sets an example of altruism and community support that should inspire other business owners whose success is fed from the neighbors whom they serve.

Yes, people will will see the Vackar name whenever they go to events at the stadium or take classes at the business school. In helping build the university, and helping students build successful careers, the couple are forming an even greater legacy by investing in others who will help build the Valley’s future growth and success.