student wins laptop
Michael McNeil and Gateway's Charles Kennedy

UTSA student surprised with HACU, Gateway gift

(May 25, 2004)--Michael McNeil received quite a surprise when he graduated from UTSA this month.

UTSA teamed up with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Gateway to present McNeil with a Gateway M275E laptop, worth an estimated $2,500, with a deluxe carrying case, digital camera and too many features to mention.

HACU, which has 360 members, was founded in San Antonio in the interest of institutions serving Hispanic students. Gateway proposed a partnership with the association, giving UTSA, a member of HACU, an interesting offer.

For every Gateway product purchased by UTSA, a UTSA student, employee or alumnus, Gateway not only offers a discounted price, but a rebate that goes back to UTSA.

Jeff Noyes, UTSA associate vice president for information technology and chief information officer, said the information technology department wanted to do something unique with the money. They wanted something reflective of the university and its goal of providing an education accessible to all.

The answer to the group's quest for a new twist on giving back was the first annual Office of Information Technology Laptop Award with which the trio of organizations surprised McNeil. The award will be given twice a year to an Hispanic graduate selected through the Academic Development Program.

ADP students are students who are initially accepted at UTSA as provisional students who do not meet all admissions requirements. ADP helps ensure those students are just as successful as any others. In selecting the award's first recipient, the ADP staff looked at academic success, extracurricular activities and campus involvement.

McNeil shone in every category as a communications student, a founding member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and a former television department intern for the Dallas Cowboys.

"I can't believe they're doing this," said McNeil. "I wasn't expecting anything. It's a real honor, especially being the first one."

By the time Charles Kennedy and Hector Placencia of Gateway finished demonstrating the features of McNeil's laptop, excitement and anticipation overrode awe.

"I'm going to play with that laptop so much," McNeil said.

--Leigh Anne Gullett

University Communications
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