Founded by the Texas Legislature in 1969, UTSA was commissioned as a university of the first class. Administrative offices for the first UTSA president, Arleigh B. Templeton, were set up in 1970 in Hemisfair Park, and architects Ford, Powell and Carson Inc. began developing a conceptual master plan for the campus. In 1973, enrollment for the first class of 1,113 students met at the Koger Center office park. Classes began at the UTSA Main Campus at I-10 and 1604 in 1975 with 4,433 students enrolled in five colleges. Today, UTSA is an emerging urban serving research institution with nearly 31,000 students, nine colleges and three campuses.
In 1973 Peter T. Flawn was appointed UTSA's second president. By this time, more than 670 students had enrolled in graduate level courses taught by 52 faculty members.
UTSA's earliest students attended college at the Koger Center, an office park. Master's degrees were offered in business administration, education, bicultural-bilingual studies, English as a second language, environmental management, Spanish, biology, mathematics and systems design. Thirty-eight degree programs were approved for the school.
In 1973 construction began on UTSA's original campus, now known as the Main Campus, on a 600-acre tract in the rolling foothills of San Antonio's northwest side.
In September 1975 the UTSA Main Campus began holding classes for students enrolled in five colleges: Business, Fine and Applied Arts, Sciences and Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Multidisciplinary Studies. Enrollment was 4,433 with 2,247 undergraduates. In 1976, the John Peace Library Building opened, and also served as the new administration building. James W. Wagener was named UTSA president in 1978.
In the 1980s four new colleges were put in place and new undergraduate programs were offered in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering. Later in the decade, the College of Sciences and Mathematics was reorganized to form the College of Sciences and Engineering. Also, UTSA's athletics teams began competing as San Antonio's only NCAA Division I sports program.
More than 12,000 students enrolled at UTSA in this era. A recital hall, university center and the first on-campus residence - Chisholm Hall - opened. In 1986, UT System designated The Institute of Texan Cultures as a campus of UTSA.
Samuel A. Kirkpatrick became the fourth UTSA president in 1990. UTSA began offering classes downtown at the Institute of Texan Cultures, and as enrollment increased, the university began looking for a new location. Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises purchased the Fiesta Plaza site for the new campus. The Texas Legislature-funded South Texas Border Initiative (which provided $352.4 million for new educational programs and buildings at 19 universities in the South Texas border region) allocated $71.5 million to UTSA, with $20 million stipulated for the Downtown Campus.
While the Downtown Campus was being developed and built, UTSA offered courses at a temporary downtown location at Cypress Tower from 1994 to 1997.
In 1997, UTSA opened the 11-acre Downtown Campus, west of IH-37 and Durango Boulevard. The UTSA Downtown Campus now has four academic buildings and is home to two colleges and two departments in a third college. A growing number of undergraduate and graduate degrees can be completed on-site at the Downtown Campus.
Other facilities constructed or opened during the 1990s included the Engineering- Biosciences Building, Business Building, a campus visitor center, and a computer lab. The student-centered University Center has tripled its original size.
Ricardo Romo became UTSA's fifth president in 1999 and was the first Hispanic president in the university's 30-year history. Academic reorganization the following year included a move to six colleges-Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Liberal and Fine Arts, Sciences, and Public Policy. A College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, Honors College and The Graduate School were subsequently developed.
In 2004, as UTSA celebrated its 35th anniversary, two important new facilities opened at the Main Campus: the $52 million Main Building, which provides the university with more classroom, laboratory and administrative office space; and Chaparral Village at UTSA, a $45 million, 1000-bed student housing complex that brought the number of students living on campus to 3,000. Also in 2004, the university reached a land swap agreement with the City of San Antonio to increase the size of the Downtown Campus.
In February 2006, UTSA dedicated its new Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building, which is one of the largest and most sophisticated science facilities at any institution of higher education in Texas. The $84 million complex will figure prominently in the university's transformation into the state's next premier research institution. In November 2006, UTSA purchased an additional 125 acres of land on Hausman Road to build an athletics complex.
In spring 2007, UTSA opened Phase I of Laurel Village, a $40 million, 680-bed facility, for UTSA students. Phase II opened up summer 2008. Also in 2008, UTSA welcomed the newly expanded Recreation and Wellness Center and University Center Phase III.
As part of the UTSA vision for continued growth, the university has plans for $265 million in construction over the next three years. The university received funding from the Texas Legislature for an $82 million building for the College of Engineering, where enrollment grew more than 90 percent in six years. In 2008, UTSA welcomed the newly expanded Recreation and Wellness Center and University Center Phase III.
In 2010, the university installed one of the world’s most powerful electron microscopes, and opened the first bookless library on a U.S. college or university campus.
As part of the UTSA vision for continued growth, the university has plans for $265 million in construction over the next few years.
In 2010, the $82.5 million, 145,440-square-foot Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) Building opened on the UTSA Main Campus. The AET Building supports world-class research and teaching in science and engineering.
Park West Athletics Complex opened in 2013, featuring a soccer stadium and track and field complex.
In 2015, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching selected UTSA to receive its prestigious Community Engagement Classification. Later that year, UTSA announced that it had received $202 million in gifts and pledges during its inaugural capital campaign, We Are UTSA – A Top-Tier Campaign, exceeding its original goal of $120 million.
In February 2017, the university announced design plans for the Science and Engineering Building, the largest construction project in UTSA history at $95 million. The new research building will include additional laboratories, classrooms and meeting spaces for UTSA students and researchers in brain health, chemical engineering, biology and chemistry.
In fall 2017, Taylor Eighmy began his service as the sixth president of UTSA. President Eighmy set in motion a series of key initiatives, the first phase of a long-term strategy to make UTSA San Antonio’s university of the future and help it earn National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility and R1 (highest research activity) classification from the Carnegie Commission, critical steps along the university’s path to becoming a great discovery enterprise.
By leveraging UTSA’s research enterprise and strategically located Downtown Campus, Eighmy is currently developing plans to make UTSA the city’s anchor for cradle to career education, economic development and community engagement – efforts that will help all San Antonians realize their dreams and attain prosperity.
The Texas Legislature establishes a University of Texas campus in San Antonio. Gov. Preston Smith signs the act into law on the back of Rep. Frank Lombardino, a sponsor of the bill.
UT System Board of Regents accepts 600 acres of land donated for UTSA near Interstate 10 and Loop 1604.
UT System Board of Regents names Arleigh B. Templeton first UTSA president.
Dewey D. Davis, professor in Division of Education, first faculty member appointed.
Construction of UTSA at I-10 and 1604 begins. It's the largest new university under construction in the U.S. Seven buildings comprise 800,000 square feet.
Peter T. Flawn is appointed president.
Enrollment for the first class, which met at the Koger Center off of Loop 410, is 1,113.
UTSA holds its first commencement ceremony. Degrees are awarded to 82 students.
Classes begin at UTSA Main Campus for students enrolled in five colleges: Business, Fine and Applied Arts, Sciences and Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Multidisciplinary Studies. Enrollment is 4,433.
John Peace Library Building opens as library and administration building.
James W. Wagener is appointed president after Peter T. Flawn resigns to return to teaching and research at UT Austin.
Enrollment is 9,400.
UTSA announces plans to join NCAA Division 1.
Student newspaper The Paisano is established as the only independent student publication in the state.
The Student Representative Assembly bury a time capsule on Main Campus, to be opened on June 5, 2023.
Institute of Texan Cultures becomes part of UTSA.
University Center North and Chisholm Hall, UTSA's first on-campus housing complex, open.
Samuel A. Kirkpatrick becomes the fourth president of UTSA.
UTSA Downtown opens at the Institute of Texan Cultures.
The first doctoral program, a Ph.D. in biology with a specialty in neurobiology, is approved by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
Texas Legislature and Governor Richards approve South Texas Border Initiative, which provides UTSA funding to build the Downtown Campus
Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Enterprises purchases the former Fiesta Plaza Mall land and donates it to UTSA to use as the site for the Downtown Campus.
Students begin taking classes at UTSA Downtown in its temporary location at Cypress Tower. Enrollment is 900.
The first two doctoral degrees are awarded at UTSA. Recipients were James Colston and Karla Kopec, who received doctoral degrees in biology with a concentration in neurobiology.
UTSA breaks ground and dedicates several buildings, including the University Center expansion, the Business Building, the Biosciences Building, and three phases of the Downtown Campus.
Ricardo Romo is named UTSA's fifth president and is the first Hispanic president in the university's 30-year history.
UTSA dedicates the Recreation and Wellness Center, and new Childcare Development Center.
The UTSA Main Campus begins construction on a new $83.7 million Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building, a 227,000 square-foot facility.
Fall enrollment is more than 26,000, making UTSA the second largest institution among the 15 components in The University of Texas System.
Enrollment growth calls for more student housing and parking spaces. As a result, Chaparral Village and Laurel Village residence halls and Ximenes Ave. and Tobin Ave. parking garages open in the mid-2000s.
UTSA enrollment increases to 28,955
The UTSA football team plays its first game at the Alamodome.
UTSA kicks off We Are UTSA – A Top-Tier Campaign with an initial goal of raising $120 million in three years. The University surpasses the goal less than a year later and a new goal of $175 million is set.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the UTSA Park West Athletics Complex is held, a 125-acre sports complex with competition and practice facilities for soccer and track and field.
UTSA is named among the top 100 universities younger than 50 years old by Times Higher Education for the first time.
The UTSA capital campaign tops $100 million in private gifts just halfway into its inaugural capital campaign, We Are UTSA -- A Top-Tier Campaign.
UTSA Park West Athletics Complex opens.
UTSA receives more than $5 million in gift commitments to advance the Top-Tier capital campaign, including a gift from the 80/20 Foundation to establish Open Compute projects and fellowships.
A three-year partnership between UTSA and Microsoft is announced to research and develop sustainable technologies to make data centers more energy efficient and economically viable.
UTSA reaches 100,000 graduates.
UTSA receives the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
UTSA announces the creation of the Open Cloud Institute, an initiative to develop degree programs in cloud computing and big data.
Universities.com names UTSA as one of the top two graduate cybersecurity programs in the nation.
UTSA is ranked among the top 400 universities in the world and one of the top 100 in the nation by Times Higher Education.
UTSA Football makes history playing in its first bowl game, tying an NCAA record for the fastest program to reach a bowl game.
Times Higher Education names UTSA one of the top 4 young universities in the nation.
Dr. Taylor Eighmy becomes UTSA's sixth president.
UTSA celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Downtown Campus.
UTSA receives a $70 million commitment from the UT System to construct a National Security Collaboration Center and a proposed School of Data Science. San Antonio business leader Graham Weston added a $15 million gift to support the School of Data Science.