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Manuel Berriozabal (top) and Dhiraj Sardar

Faculty Honors: Manuel Berriozabal and Dhiraj Sardar

By Shelley Kilpatrick
Student Writer, College of Liberal and Fine Arts

(May 10, 2007)--Professor Manuel Berriozabal received the 2007 Chancellor's Council Innovation in Education Award at the UTSA Faculty Honors Convocation May 3.

The award is supported by the UT System Chancellor's Council and includes a stipend to reward extraordinary and creative innovations in teaching and outreach that reach many students, further the mission of the university and involve interdisciplinary or inter-institutional collaboration.

Professor Dhiraj Sardar was named as recipient of the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Professorship. A recipient of the five-year professorship meets the highest possible standard of excellence for the professional scholar.

This individual must have attained national recognition by faculty peers for his or her research, creative works and scholarly endeavors. The awardee possesses personal characteristics that serve as an example to students and faculty. Additionally, the professorship recognizes academic distinction and is accompanied by a stipend.

The convocation honors recipients of teaching, research and service awards and acknowledges recent retirees.

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Manuel Berriozabal

Manuel Berriozabal is a UTSA professor of mathematics. He has helped shape the landscape of Texas education as a teacher and administrator since the early 1970s. His career includes positions at some of the most respected educational institutions in the nation including UCLA, Columbia, Tulane and others.

He arrived at UTSA in 1976, before the institution had seen its first decade. Since then, he has continuously driven the university toward excellence in academic achievement and community outreach.

An entire generation of San Antonio students has grown up with Berriozabal's teaching through PREP, UTSA's Prefreshmen Engineering Program.

Since it was founded almost 30 years ago, the summer program that stresses the sciences, mathematics, engineering and computer science, has educated thousands of students from middle school through high school.

In 1986, the PREP program expanded across Texas and through partnerships with NASA, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and other organizations, Proyecto Access has replicated the PREP program nation-wide.

Berriozábal is the architect of a program whose participants consistently achieve a 99.9 percent high school graduation rate, 97 percent college attendance and 89 percent college graduation rate.

Collectively, San Antonio PREP, TexPREP and Proyecto Access have raised at least $35 million in financial or in-kind support from a range of donors and agencies at every level of government.

He remains a key member of PREP, serves on various faculty boards and participates in numerous civic activities.

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Dhiraj Sardar

Dhiraj Sardar is a professor of physics and astronomy and has played a critical role in establishing a nationally recognized research laboratory in lasers and their applications, including in the biomedical field, with research recognized by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and major commercial industries. His research is considered cutting-edge.

Sardar has brought to UTSA a significant sum of external funding -- approximately $2 million -- from federal agencies such as the NSF, Petroleum Research Fund of American Chemical Society, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force.

He has published more than 80 papers, many of them in collaboration with his students, in major refereed journals and presented more than 100 papers at national and international conferences. As a testament to his international recognition, Sardar has been invited to give talks at international conferences and universities around the world.

His ongoing legacy is found in his devoted students. Since his arrival at UTSA in 1984, he has trained more than 50 students by in the field of lasers and their applications. Many of his students have gone on to graduate school and successful careers.

Since 1990, six of his students have received awards for outstanding presentations at the Texas section of the American Physical Society. His devotion to his students in providing advanced research training has been exemplary.

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