It was, by their own admission, a sometimes contentious process over many months that tried the participants' patience and steadfastness.
But on Friday, the two parties to the dissolved partnership between the UT System and Texas Southmost College sat at table as equals and inked an agreement laying down the conditions of the new arrangement between the two academic institutions.
All the TSC trustees were present at the signing ceremony.
Although the nuts and bolts of the new pact between the University of Texas at Brownsville and the college will be specified in the text of the agreement, both the UT Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and his "tocayo" TSC Board President Kiko Rendon said the signing constituted a historic chapter in the evolution of higher education access in the region.
TSC President Lily Tercero told the audience that included Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez that TSC was back and credited the new arrangements between the two to many of those who were in attendance.
Among them was Weslaco native and UT Regent Ernest Aliseda, college and UT System administrators and Brownsville Independent School Disitrict trustee Lucy Longoria and superintendent Carl Montoya.
Conspicuous because of their absence was UTB President Julieta Garcia and BISD board president Enrique Escobedo. Also missing were Sen. Eddie Lucio or Rene Oliveira, the legislators who pushed for the "partnership" option that shifted the financial burden to the TSC district taxpayers instead of demanding that the UT system set up an independent four-year university with its own funds as it is doing now after TSC trustees opted to separate from the UT System.
Tercero updated the registration numbers at the new TSC and said that enrollment had already topped 2,000 and approaching 2,100.
"We're on our way to establish a seamless transition with our partnerships between the ISDs, the community college and the UT System," Tercero said. "We are also glad to have the city here represented by Mayor Martinez."
Tercero said that after the many months of negotiation, the rough spots had been levelled, differences overcome and that one outcome of the ordeal was that "many friendships had been developed."
Cigarroa, said that the separation of the UT System and TSC was "one of the first challenges I faced as chancellor. At the end of the day, our students are going to benefit."
He and Tercero said that much work remained to be done, but that the work would be worth it because "the potential here is immense" and local students "need every option" to get a quality education."
"We are the model for education in the United States of America and will have a global impact," he said. "I almost feel like I live here and feel right at home when I get to Brownsville."
Early indications are that TSC and UT System will share the campus through a series of land swaps and cash transfers that will initially leave at least $26 million to TSC with more to come pending the final resolution of remaining issues.