Applied Engineering and Technology Building dedication showcases new labs

AET Ceremony

At the AET Building ribbon cutting are (from left) state Sen. Jeff Wentworth, state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, UTSA President Ricardo Romo, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and UTSA supporter Bartell Zachry (Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(March 11, 2010)--The new $82.5 million Applied Engineering and Technology Building was center stage Wednesday, March 10 during a dedication ceremony on the UTSA Main Campus attended by elected officials and more than 200 students, faculty and friends of the university.

UTSA President Ricardo Romo, serving as emcee, thanked guests for their continued support over the past 10 years as UTSA grew from a mid-sized commuter campus to an emerging research university.

"As one of the fastest growing universities in Texas and the nation, UTSA continues to strive toward Tier One research university status and the addition of this laboratory and teaching facility is a big step in the right direction," said Romo.

Romo introduced University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa as the keynote speaker, acknowledging his achievements and for being the first Hispanic in America selected to lead a public university system.

Cigarroa commended Romo for his leadership and for building an emerging research university "for our beloved South Texas." He also recognized Mauli Agrawal, dean of the College of Engineering for his outstanding work in building a college where students receive a world-class education.

"This is a remarkable day for both UTSA and for UT System and this new facility immeasurably adds to the innovative research this university has produced over the past decade," said Cigarroa. "University students and their parents deserve and expect a second-to-none education and this engineering and science facility is one more step in ensuring that that environment exists here at UTSA."

Cigarroa's remarks resonated with Olivia Arroyos, an undergraduate engineering student serving as a UTSA Ambassador at the event. Arroyos said the classrooms are large with power for individual laptops that hook up to a group computer wired to the classroom's main projection screen.

"Engineering students tend to internalize and the large open classrooms in here force you to open up socially and prepare you for giving PowerPoint and public presentations -- something an engineer will have to do when we graduate and enter the workforce," said Arroyos.

In a program cut short because of light rainfall, Cigarroa, state Sen. Judith Zaffirini, state Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, and state Sen. Jeff Wentworth joined Romo and longtime UTSA supporter Bartell Zachry for the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Before the 10 a.m. dedication, Mauli Agrawal, College of Engineering dean, and George Perry, College of Sciences dean, along with John Frederick, provost, and Bob Gracy, vice president for research, led building tours. Visitors got a look at two large classrooms and eight of the 36 new laboratories that span research from biomaterials and regenerative orthopedics to laser spectroscopy.