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Sombrilla

The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

The Student Body

The First Mr. & Ms. UTSA

In 1985, Wayne Terry ’85 and Trish DeBerry were named Mr. and Ms. UTSA at the university’s inaugural homecoming ceremony.

Since there was no football team in 1985, the Alumni Association chose February during basketball season. A photograph of DeBerry and Terry at the time show them on the court in the Convocation Center — the ceremony was held at a men’s basketball game.

Active in Lambda Ki Alpha, elected as student body president and involved in the university program council, Terry says no one really knew what to expect as they planned events. Would activities be welcome? Would people show up?

“I remember it being very exciting for us a university,” DeBerry says. “We saw that as a step in the right direction.”

DeBerry remains active with UTSA and is a member of the development board, while Terry was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012.

The two say they have had the chance to reminisce when they run into each other at various events around San Antonio or when visiting UTSA. About four years ago at the president’s dinner, Terry says, that their homecoming photo was part of the Through the Years theme.

“People said, ‘Is that really you and Trish DeBerry?’” Terry says, joking that he thought to himself, Let’s just push those off the table. “I had the early ’80s Jheri curl going on.”

DeBerry also chuckles at the decade of tortured, big hair: “It certainly was damaged and fried, and lots of overuse of product. I don’t know how we all thought that looked good.”

Both are now successful professionals in San Antonio, with Terry working with small, minority- and women-owned businesses as the manager of supplier diversity at H-E-B, while DeBerry runs her own public relations firm. She spent only two years at UTSA before transferring to Trinity University because UTSA didn’t have a PR program at the time.

“I would have stayed if they had it back then,” she says. “It’s just that the university was so new. They have a great PR program now. It makes me really proud to see how the university and degree programs have grown.”

A Roll Call of Traditions

Like any proud university, UTSA has established some much-loved traditions over the years. In addition to the ones covered elsewhere in this issue, here's a roundup of some of the others.

The Oldest

University Life Awards: Started in 1978 to recognize the outstanding efforts of students, faculty and staff who are working to improve UTSA and the San Antonio community, these awards are given out each spring semester and are coordinated by the Student Government Association.

The Newest

Monument Lights: The UTSA Monuments at the John Peace Boulevard entrance to Main Campus have a changing color scheme to recognize various events, from academic and athletics achievements (like commencement and game victories) to special occasions (UTSA Day, Fiesta UTSA, homecoming, etc.). A committee of student leaders helped to plan the color combinations, enabled by full-spectrum LED lighting, including UTSA orange, blue and white. The tradition began in 2014 with the Midnight Light ceremony at the end of Roadrunner Days.

And In Between

UTSA Diploma Dash 5K: Established in 1985, this race is held on Main Campus each spring by the Alumni Association to raise funds for alumni-sponsored scholarships and programs. A certified 5K event, it’s open to to runners, walkers, families and dogs.

Howdy Rowdy Bash: Started in 1995, this party, which features dance and step celebrations, is held prior to the first home football game to allow students to meet student athletes.

Ring Ceremony: Sponsored by the Alumni Association since 1996, the official UTSA ring is made available to junior and senior students to represent a link with fellow classmates and alumni. Before being distributed each fall and spring semester, newly purchased rings are held overnight inside the Alamo, symbolically linking bearers to the proud and rich history of Texas

Roadrunner Days: A series of events for all freshmen and freshman transfers that traditionally takes place on the days prior to the first day of classes to introduce the newcomers to UTSA life.

Time Capsule: It’s not celebrated annually, but UTSA has a time capsule buried on Main Campus that’s a well-established part of the university. In 1983 the Student Representative Assembly (the forerunner to the Student Government Association) celebrated the 10th anniversary of UTSA’s first classes by burying in the lawn that surrounds Sombrilla Plaza a trove of university paraphernalia to be opened 50 years later.

UTSA Ambassadors: With 70 students serving and 17 in training each year, this group provides a variety of services, including guiding campus tours for prospective students and their families as well as ushering at commencement ceremonies and other events. Yearlong, comprehensive training includes workshops on leadership, communication skills, etiquette, committee work and philanthropy. As a group, members volunteer more than 10,000 hours annually and celebrated 25 years of service to the university in 2014.

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Current Issue: Summer 2015 | Table of Contents