Next week is going to be a really exciting time at UTSA. It's the start of the fall semester and a new academic year. We'll be welcoming 29,000 students to campus including nearly 7,000 new freshmen and transfer students. When you think about it, UTSA is the size of a small town and, like any close-knit community, what brings us together is a sense of common purpose and tradition.
Top-tier universities prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow and help them become engaged global citizens. That starts in the classroom, but extends well beyond the walls of a classroom or laboratory. The traditions that students experience during their time at UTSA expose them to new cultures, new ideas and shared interests. They bring them closer together as a Roadrunner family and keep them connected to a special, transformative time in their lives.
UTSA has a rich history of traditions, and we are building new ones every day. The Sombrilla, with its unique design and iconic fountain, serves as the centerpiece of the Main Campus and has created lasting memories for tens of thousands of our graduates. Legend has it that students who touch the fountain during finals week are on track to ace their exams.
At the Downtown Campus, traditions are filled with heart. In fact, 31 bronze hearts, sculpted by Diana Rodriguez Gil, a 1986 alumna, are hidden in plain sight. Her "Milagros" art project continues to symbolize the love and dedication of the Roadrunner family.
One of our newest traditions is also one of my favorites: the Midnight Light. Students, faculty and staff gather at midnight on the first day of class to celebrate the start of the new school year by lighting the Monument at the entrance to the Main Campus, capped by fireworks.
Whether a recent graduate or one of our first, whenever you meet a Roadrunner, they have fond memories to share of their time at UTSA and the traditions that will stay with them for a lifetime.
Traditions remind us that we are a part of history. At UTSA, our shared history comes from creating a top-tier university where excellence, creativity and innovation thrives.
This is certainly going to be a great year.
President, The University of Texas at San Antonio