Founded by the Texas Legislature in 1969, UTSA now offers access and opportunity for nearly 29,000 students. UTSA has come a long way in 46 years. 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 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 in 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.
UTSA's History - 2000 and Beyond
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 brings 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.
The university continues to grow. In February 2006, UTSA dedicated its new Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Buildingwhich 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 a future 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.
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 recently received funding from the Texas Legislature for an $82 million building for the College of Engineering, where enrollment has grown more than 90 percent in six years. In 2008, UTSA welcomed the newly expanded Recreation and Wellness Center and University Center Phase III.
In addition to the educational advantages, UTSA generated $1.2 billion in annual business revenues and supported an estimated 15,720 jobs in the San Antonio metropolitan statistical area, based on 2008 figures. In FY 2014, UTSA ranked No. 1 among UT System Components in percentages of purchases involving historically underutilized businesses (HUB), with HUB purchases totaling more than $16.
As the premier doctoral/research university of South Texas and a Hispanic Serving institution, UTSA will continue to provide top-tier educational opportunities at the highest level of excellence.