This is the time of year when we reflect on what makes us thankful and participate in time-honored traditions. UTSA is also about traditions. Our students are creating new ones all the time, whether it is going to a football game, restoring the Sombrilla Fountain or adding a Roadrunner statue to campus.
UTSA has another great tradition -- engaging our students not just in the classroom and the laboratory, but at the personal level, too. That's why, this time of year, I think about faculty members like Associate Professor Wayne Wright in the UTSA Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies. Since he joined UTSA in 2004, Dr. Wright has made it a tradition to invite international graduate students to his home at Thanksgiving and to introduce them to our holiday.
Sovicheth Boun has spent his last three Thanksgivings with Dr. Wright and his wife. Sovicheth is a Cambodian graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in Culture, Literacy and Language at UTSA. Their holiday meal includes American favorites like turkey, ham and mashed potatoes. They also include fried rice and other Cambodian favorites. At every celebration, the Wrights and their guests take turns sharing thoughts about what makes them thankful.
By opening their home to students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to celebrate this holiday, the Wrights have introduced our international guests to new traditions. They are creating memories for the students that will live on well past their college days. They are enriching lives.
There are many other faculty and staff on campus with stories similar to the Wrights'. All of them are dedicated to ensuring that our students have top-tier experiences while they are at UTSA. Sovicheth Boun can attest to that.
This holiday season, I have so much to be thankful for – my family and friends; the closeness of our UTSA family; the faculty, staff and students who devote their holidays to volunteer work at local charities, taking care of others and giving back to the community. And, I am so thankful for you. Because of your support of UTSA, we are giving students opportunities for excellence that will last a lifetime.
This year, as you take part in time-honored traditions, whether old or new, Harriett and I wish you a happy holiday season surrounded by friends and family.
The University of Texas at San Antonio