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A Message from VPSA Sam Gonzales

“Pictured Above: Vice President for Student Affairs, Sam Gonzales” Pictured Above: Vice President for Student Affairs, Sam Gonzales

Finals are in full swing and our students are focused on successfully completing the fall semester.  I am always amazed at the abilities and dedication of our students, but especially now when I see them persevere during a stressful time of the semester.  Their goals are within reach and they will finish in four.  Maybe we just need to remind them of this in the weeks ahead.  What is it that the students say?  “You can do this.”  Tell them that they can do it.  Help them believe.

The close of the semester also signifies our commencement ceremonies.  We are proud to join you in celebrating your students’ amazing accomplishment.  Believe me, graduations are a true celebration at UTSA with mariachis, the band, streamers and an exciting finale.  Such an accomplishment is a cause for an incredible celebration.  Nothing less will do. 

Whether your student is in his/her first or final semester, we want them to be successful and we understand the level of dedication required.  That is why we are here to support them every step of the way.

As the semester concludes, we are reflecting on this year and looking forward to staying connected in the New Year.  If interested in learning more about the Division of Student Affairs, view our annual report, Now and Forever, at www.utsa.edu./students/annualreport. From our UTSA Student Affairs staff family to yours, we wish you a holiday season full of blessings. 

Best Wishes,

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UTSA Fall 2014 Commencement

The UTSA commencement ceremony is the biggest celebratory event of our student’s success at our university. It is not just a symbol of their academic achievement in completing their degree, but it is a symbol for the next chapter in their lives.

The UTSA Commencement Committee puts forth great effort to make this a day that will be memorable for both the students and their families. It is the committee’s intention to make the students’ last experience with UTSA a great one. The university’s band (The Spirit of San Antonio) joins the ceremony playing the traditional pomp and circumstance and the alma mater. Also, a mariachi group joins us in celebration at the processional, a tradition that is unique to UTSA.

Since commencement is hosted in a large venue (the Fall 2014 Commencement ceremonies will take place at the Henry B. Convention Center), this gives the committee the opportunity to make the ceremony even better for students, as students are able to invite as many guests as they want to celebrate this exciting accomplishment.
Fall 2014 Commencement ceremonies will take place at the Henry B. Convention Center on:

  • Friday, December 19, 2014 at 4:00pm for College of Engineering, College of Liberal and Fine Arts, and University College students
  • Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 10:00am for College of Education and Human Development and College of Sciences students
  • Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 4:00pm for College of Architecture, College of Business, and College of Public Policy students

The UTSA Commencement Committee wants to recognize the parents and their contributions towards their student’s success because without them many of this wouldn’t be possible! Thank you for all that you do!

Article submitted by Kayla Larsen, Graduation Coordinator for the Registrar

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Coming Home for the Holidays


It has been an exciting semester.  As students are preparing for finals they are often looking forward to the rest and relaxation that awaits them back home.  They may be looking forward to their favorite home-cooked meal, the comfort of their own bed, and seeing their old friends.   Parents are looking forward to hearing all about college life and having their student home again.  What we sometimes forget is that even after just one semester of college, a student can have amazing transformation into a responsible adult.  After all, they have been getting themselves up in the morning and going to class, taking initiative on the homework and projects, doing their own laundry, and negotiating with roommates.  When students return home for the holidays, families might expect family life to pick-up where it left off, while their now adult students might expect the same independence they found on campus.  This can lead to family stress that can put a damper on the holidays.

Students and parents should consider having a discussion about family expectations.  Does the same curfew apply?  Is the student expected to assume all their old chores and responsibilities?  What if the student would rather spend their limited time home with their old friends rather than their extended family members?  This discussion will put family members on the same page and possibly prevent a family argument from ruining this short visit.  Contact Counseling Services at 210.458.4140 for more suggestions on having this important family discussion. 

Article submitted by Melissa Hernandez, LCSW, Associate Director of Counseling Services

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2015-2016 Financial Aid Information


The 2015-2016 UTSA General Scholarship Application is now available for our current students through their ASAP account.  This application is due by midnight on February 15, 2015. Only one General Scholarship Application is required for all General Scholarships awarded through the Scholarship Division of the Office of Student Financial Aid & Enrollment Services.

Scholarships at UTSA generally fall into three categories:  need, merit, and a combination of need and merit.  Other factors may be taken into consideration such as first generation, region, language, economic hardships, athletic ability, and musical talent, just to name a few.   Merit scholarships are usually based on standardized test scores, rank in class, grade point average, or essays, while need-based scholarships rely on financial information usually obtained from the FAFSA.   Students are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA each year, along with their scholarship application, to be considered for the broadest range of scholarships available.

To find the list of scholarships available through the General Scholarship Application, please visit http://utsa.edu/scholarships/genscholar.html. For more information about other scholarships available, please visit http://utsa.edu/scholarships.

Also, do not forget to file the 2015-2016 FAFSA when it becomes available on January 1, 2015.  To be considered for the most in gift aid such as Grants and Work-Study, you must submit the FAFSA to UTSA by the priority deadline of March 15, 2015.  For questions, please contact Student Financial Aid and Enrollment Services by emailing   financialaid@utsa.edu or by calling 210-458-8000 or (Toll Free) 1-800-669-0919.

Article submitted by Christopher Goldsberry, Assistant Director of Student Enrollment Services

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UTSA VOICES: OXFAM Hunger Banquet Recap

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UTSA VOICES (Volunteer Organization Involving Community Education and Service), hosted, for the 15th year, the Oxfam Hunger Banquet. An educational dining experiences emphasizing factual life income in three tiers (high-income, middle income, and low-income). This year 183 student, faculty, and staff participated in the experiential program.

UTSA faculty encouraged their students to attend and as a result students enrolled in the First Year Experience Academic Inquiry and Scholarship (AIS) course, Social Problems, Nutrition, and many more participated in the event. This year the AIS course is focusing on Food Deserts, areas that are in urban environments, which make it difficult for members of the community to purchase affordable or good- quality fresh food. The OXFAM Hunger Banquet this year correspondingly concentrated on different types of hunger ranging from senior hunger to rural and suburban hunger.

The interactive section of the event was touching, when true life occurrences changed the income level of the participants, (high income participant loses their job and now lives in low income).   There were moments during the banquet in which students from different income tiers shared food with one from different income levels. Guest speaker Dough Ewers, UTSA Alumni 14’ and Food and Drive Coordinator from the San Antonio Food Bank shared information about hunger in San Antonio and Texas – which is the third hungriest state in the nation.

For more information regarding the OXFAM Hunger Banquet contact The Student Center for Community Engagement or Inclusion or for service projects contact Volunteer Services 210-458-7291.

Article submitted by Katiuzca Loaiza, Volunteer Services Graduate Assistant

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Family Association Student Spotlight: Jenica Santos


Name: Jenica Santos
Hometown: Killeen, TX-
Major: Kinesiology-Exercise Science (Graduating December 2014)
- Extracurricular Activities: Delta Xi Nu Multicultural Sorority Inc., Fraternal Values Society, Pre-Dietetics Society, Student Organization Council, Rowdy Rush, VOICES, Pacific Heights Dance Troupe, Roadrunner Productions

As the holiday season is rolling in, are there any holiday traditions you are looking forward to participate in?

This time of the year happens to be my favorite time of the year! My family travels to California for the holidays in order to spend time with my brother and godparents, who live in San Diego. In case you are wondering, that is an 18 hour drive! Once we get there, some traditions we do as a family is pick out a real Christmas tree, go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, and go for a hike in the mountains on Christmas Day. Everything as a family is the best gift within itself.

Do you find yourself wanting to spend holidays with your family or with your friends? Why?

Family is Forever is what I live by. Through all the obstacles you overcome in life, family will always be there but of course, the friends that I do have, I consider them family too. Overall, spending the holidays with loved ones is all that matters to me. My family is a military family, so my dad has missed the holidays often. So, being able to have him here, after all he's been through – he got injured in Iraq - it just emphasizes Family is Forever.  

What do you do to bring in the New Year?

I spend New Year's Eve with loved ones. We gather at a family member's house and enjoy being all together. We do a cheers to bring in the New Year and then watch the fireworks from the military installation.

How has your involvement at UTSA impacted your personal and career goals?

My involvement at UTSA has truly helped me, from my personal goals in growing into a more confident individual, to career goals and truly finding what I love to do. Also it has helped me with learning the tools that I need to be successful.

As graduation is quickly approaching, what would you tell your freshman self if you could go back in time?

Take advantage of every opportunity there is, don't be scared to try new things, prioritize everything and take time to see all the things that are really important. There is nothing that is far-fetched, take in all the tools you need to be successful, form relationships with the many mentors that will help you through your years.

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Spring 2015 University Career Center Events

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Have a junior or senior student who is interested in gaining an internship or employment within the next year? Encourage them to mark their calendars for the various Spring 2015 career fairs listed above! Students can also visit www.hireroadrunners.com for more information on outside employment opportunities for UTSA students.


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UPDATE to Fall 2015 Semester: First Day of Classes

4r5t The Fall 2015, first day of classes date, has been updated to Tuesday, August 18, 2015. Previous publications, such as earlier UTSA Academic Calendars and the 2014-2015 UTSA Family Association Calendar, listed the start date as the last Wednesday of August 2015. Please make sure to update your calendars appropriately!

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Important Spring 2014 Dates

Saturday, December 13 - Friday, December 19, 2014: Final Exams

Thursday, December 24 - Friday, December 26, 2014: Winter Holiday University Closed

Monday, January 12, 2015: First Day of Spring 2015 Spring Classes

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Thank you for reading the Family Connection!