Leadership Award: Lowa Mwilambwe

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(April 17, 2006)--Lowa Mwilambwe, university center director, will be honored with the Leadership Award, one of five that will be presented April 20 at the UTSA Staff Excellence and Service Awards ceremony.

The five Staff Excellence Awards recognize excellent work performance in emerging leadership, dynamic leadership, teamwork, extraordinary initiative and overall excellence.


This year's additional award winners are:

  • Rising Star Award: Dan Smolenski, senior systems administrator, Department of Computer Science
  • Team Spirit Award: Inventory Department staff members George Estevez, inventory clerk I; Olinda Ongay, inventory clerk II; Miriam Marin, inventory clerk II; James Sumner, inventory clerk III and Frank Bates, accountant II
  • Extra Mile Award: Robert Rivas, research scientist associate II, Department of Biology
  • Order of the Roadrunner Award: Hermilo "Milo" Silva, assistant director of planning and engineering, Center for Distance Learning and Academic Technology

In the second of five award spotlights that will be featured on UTSA Today, the Leadership Award recognizes a supervisory staff member who has promoted department and university goals through actions and job performance, demonstrated exceptional leadership ability, fostered a positive and motivating work environment, maintained open communication within the department and throughout UTSA, encouraged professional development, demonstrated fairness in resolving work-related issues and receptivity to feedback regarding personal job performance.


Lowa Mwilambwe

Leadership Award winner

Lowa Mwilambwe joined UTSA in August 2004 as university center director. Since that time, the University Center has experienced an incredible reorganization and has gained a position of prominence at UTSA because of his leadership.

When Mwilambwe began his job, he reorganized the reservations system and re-established programming in the University Center. As part of his plan, he created and led a committee with representatives from the three UTSA campuses to implement the use of Resource 25 reservations software.

With the purpose of unifying UTSA's online calendar resources, he is now working to establish the system across the campuses with a standardized event listing, room reservation and fee system. So far, he has brought together 12 offices in the conversion process.

Through his leadership, new programming has been implemented including a movie series, workshops, guest speakers, dance lessons, celebration kick-off events and Rowdystock. He has worked with students and other employees at the University Center to improve customer service to the UTSA community.

Mwilambwe is known for his leadership skills by students, staff and faculty. He is gracious and kind by nature, but, when the situation calls for it, he is tough and firm. His knowledge of four languages and his ability to be very diplomatic have served him well in working with UTSA community members.

He always is able to resolve issues in a consistent and fair manner. Recently, he mediated a conflict between two very vocal student organizations, and both groups walked away -- after shaking hands -- feeling that everyone had been heard and respected. Everyone involved in the incident, from students to staff to faculty, credited Mwilambwe's leadership with bringing the conflict to a peaceful and productive conclusion.

One of Mwilambwe's nominators concluded, "I have worked in higher education and student affairs for 17 years, and I have seen my share of great leaders, and Lowa Mwilambwe is a great leader. UTSA is a better university because he works here."


UTSA employees are invited to attend the event hosted by Rosalie Ambrosino, UTSA provost and vice president for academic affairs; Kerry Kennedy, UTSA vice president for business affairs; and Jude Valdez, UTSA vice president for extended services, at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 20, in the University Center Laurel Room (2.01.28) on the 1604 Campus. The ceremony will include remarks by UTSA President Ricardo Romo.

Downtown Campus and Institute of Texan Cultures staff members can attend the event utilizing VIA buses 93 or 94 at no charge by showing their UTSACard.

The ceremony will include retiree recognition, service pin awards for 5 to 35 years, and refreshments. Thirty-four staff members will be honored on their retirements and 214 staff members will receive UT System service awards for the 2005 calendar year.

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