THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT SAN ANTONIO
2008 Presentation of the President's Award
Nelson W. Wolff
Public servant. Author. Businessman. Sports aficionado. Visionary. Leader. The name Nelson Wolff is synonymous with the dynamic growth and economic energy of San Antonio and Bexar County.
Thirty-seven years ago, Wolff was elected to represent San Antonio in the Texas House of Representatives and then in the Texas Senate. He led the city for four years as mayor, and has headed Bexar County as county judge since 2001.
Before being elected to public office, Wolff was a successful entrepreneur, starting the family-owned Alamo Enterprises Building Supplies with his brothers and father. After 16 years, they sold the successful chain of eight stores. He and his brothers then founded Sun Harvest Farms, the successful natural food store chain.
Although he was mayor for only four years, his legacy looms large. He oversaw the creation of the UTSA Downtown Campus, construction of the Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium (home to the San Antonio Missions), and the development of the city's enchilada red Central Library. Always the risk taker, he successfully led the effort to pass the largest parks bond issue in San Antonio's history.
Bexar County residents have prospered under Wolff's leadership. Together with other county and city officials, he worked to bring Toyota Motor Manufacturing and the PGA Village here.
In 2008, he was successful in convincing voters to approve a visitor tax-backed bond package of $415 million. The bond funds will help build up to 13 amateur sports facilities, a performing arts venue, improvements to the San Antonio River, and future improvements to the AT&T Center and the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum.
While continuing to lead and promote San Antonio and Bexar County, Wolff found time to author four books, including Baseball for Real Men. His latest work, Transforming San Antonio: An Insider's View of the AT&T Center, Toyota, the PGA Village and the River Walk Extension, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the development that has provided urban renewal and growth for San Antonio.
He earned a bachelor of business administration degree from St. Mary's University and a doctorate of jurisprudence from St. Mary's University School of Law.
Together, Wolff and his wife, Tracy, have six children. They work in partnership on many projects, and have co-hosted UTSA's Great Conversation! La Sobremesa event.
Wolff's leadership and expertise have been extended to many community boards and commissions, including Southwest Research Institute, World Affairs Council, San Antonio Medical Foundation, San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative, and Free Trade Alliance.
San Antonio organizations and others have lavished praise and gratitude on Wolff in return for his outstanding leadership and vision. He was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame and the Boys and Girls Club National Hall of Fame. The National Jewish Medical and Research Center, the Boy Scouts, and the Mexican Consulate of San Antonio are but a sampling of organizations recognizing his accomplishments.
The University community is honored to present the UTSA President's Award to Nelson Wolff.