Top photo: Rev. Eddy Hall and Mary Olivo Hall, UTSA President
Ricardo Romo, Dr. Harriett Romo, twin daughters Andrea Hall and
Natalie Hall, and their sister Tina. Second photo: UT System
Chancellor Mark Yudof leading conversation. Third photo:
Steve Murdock, Lutcher Brown Professor of Demography in the UTSA
College of Business. In the bottom photo: a view of the festivities
in a long shot.
Great Conversation! raises $125,000 for scholarships
By Kareem el Dahab
Student Writer, College of Liberal and Fine Arts
(March 3, 2006)—More than 550 guess attended the sixth annual Great Conversation! La Sobremesa Feb. 16 at the Institute of Texan Cultures. The signature UTSA event that benefits the Honors College raised more than $125,000 for scholarships.
The event brings together prominent community leaders and UTSA faculty to host conversations on topics involving politics, business, science, health and medicine, education, the arts, food, sports and religion. The event also increases public awareness about the important cultural and intellectual role the university plays in San Antonio.
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This year's event featured 58 table conversations on topics as diverse as toll roads, no-limit Texas Hold `em poker, the 2006 Mexican presidential elections, youth sports and travel writing.
Table leaders included outstanding UTSA faculty members, along with San Antonians representing the business, government and religious communities including author Sandra Cisneros, San Antonio Archbishop Emeritus Patrick Flores, former Texas parks and Wildlife commissioner Mark Watson Jr., marketing and political consultant Lionel Sosa, San Antonio Express-News editor Robert Rivard and many others.
This year's co-hosts were Cristina and Eddie Aldrete, Tova Rubin and Robbie Greenblum, Debbie and John Montford, Andi and Rick Rodriguez, and Tracy and Nelson Wolff. Dr. Harriett Romo and UTSA President Ricardo Romo were honorary chairs. The presenting sponsors were Judy and Jim Adams, Jean and Steven Lee, and Andrea Hall and Natalie Hall.
Fraternal twin sisters Andrea Hall and Natalie Hall graduated from the UTSA Honors College in 2000. This year they endowed a $10,000 scholarship to the Honors College. According to the Hall sisters, as beneficiaries of the opportunities extended by the Honors College, they want to give back to the university.
The Halls graduated form Churchill High School as co-valedictorians. Their high grade point averages gained them admittance into the UTSA Honors College. Despite encouragement by teachers to pursue an education outside San Antonio, they wanted to stay close to home - particularly to their parents. Like many UTSA students, they are first-generation college graduates.
After graduation, they both went to Baylor University, where Natalie studied law and is now an attorney. Andrea studied at the seminary and is now a real estate agent.
The Halls' $10,000 scholarship is in honor of their parents, Rev. Eddy Hall and Mary Olivo Hall. Rev. Hall is a Vietnam veteran and former San Antonio narcotics police officer. After his retirement, he became a pastor, taking his ministry to jails, homeless shelters and under bridges preaching to drug addicts. His experience in the narcotics unit drove him to minister to those people. Their mother, Mary Olivo Hall, was a worker at a Luby's cafeteria when she met Eddy. They were married in 10 days.
At Great Conversation!, the Hall sisters thanked their parents for their support, attributing their success to them.
The UTSA Honors College was established in fall 2002. It offers an interdisciplinary four-year curriculum of special classes, supervised research and ongoing faculty advisement designed to challenge qualified students to question, think and excel. Admission is competitive and based on GPA, ACT or SAT scores, an essay and recommendations. More than 600 students are enrolled in the Honors College.