In thanking the center’s faculty and staff for providing the scientific research that supports the area’s annual $200 million industry, Lucio presented a State Senate proclamation to Dr. Michael D. McKinney, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, and Tallant.

Texas Agriculture commissioner Todd Staples praised the center for teamwork and collaboration in helping the Texas Department of Agriculture develop state regulations.

Other speakers or state officials on hand for the ceremony included state Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco; state Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City; Paul Heller, chairman of the Citrus Center’s advisory committee; and Josue Reyes, senior project manager of Skanska, the building construction contractors.

The new building is a two-story, 25,000-square-feet facility with state-of-the-art laboratories.

“The first floor features administrative offices, meeting rooms, classroom and diagnostic laboratories,” said da Graca. “The second floor consists of a core laboratory, specialized laboratories, offices for faculty and technicians, and graduate student cubicles.”

Construction began in the summer of 2009 and was completed this year. Staff and faculty moved from their old facilities to the new one in August.

Following the dedication ceremony, a luncheon was held in the new auditorium, sponsored by Texas Citrus Mutual and TexaSweet Marketing.

Becky Bonham, chairperson of Texas Citrus Mutual presented the Citrus Center with a poster depicting the family tree of Texas grapefruit.

Solomon Torres, representing U.S. Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, presented a ceremonial U.S. flag, and Barbara and Jimmie Steidinger presented a check to Tallant for a scholarship endowment for Citrus Center graduate students.