Retired AFROTC commander Lisa Firmin joins UTSA Office of Academic Affairs

Lisa Firmin

Lisa Firmin
(Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(Aug. 16, 2010)--The woman who led UTSA's Air Force ROTC to be recognized as the best overall large detachment in the nation now is leading the university's academic diversity and recruiting efforts. Retired Col. Lisa C. Firmin began her new position as associate provost for faculty and student diversity and recruitment on Aug. 2.

"As commander of our Air Force ROTC Detachment 842, Lisa Firmin already has proven to be an effective leader and recruiter for UTSA," said John Frederick, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "I am so pleased that she will be joining my staff and in particular coordinating efforts between Academic and Student Affairs to bring in a high-quality, diverse freshman class."

Firmin retired from the Air Force on July 1 as its highest-ranking Latina. Her distinguished 30-year career included being awarded the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star, among numerous other awards, as well as being the first colonel to command the expeditionary mission support group at Balad Air Base in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Firmin is a Harlingen native and graduate of San Antonio's Holmes High School, where she played on the school's first girls' basketball team to win a district championship. She also was the first person in her family to attend college, which she did using her father's Veterans Administration benefits. She earned a B.A. in journalism and graduated cum laude from Texas A&M - Kingsville before joining the Air Force and going on to earn two graduate degrees.

Firmin said she considered several options after her military retirement but decided her leadership skills and her own personal goals would be best served by remaining at UTSA.

"I'm honored for the opportunity to join the UTSA team. I believe in what Dr. Romo and Dr. Frederick are doing here by trying to achieve Tier One status, and frankly I believe very strongly in education and helping others," Firmin said. "We want to increase the number of top quartile students that come here, but we also want to continue to be the university of choice for first-time college students. I know first-hand how important a college degree is to a family; it opens so many doors that normally would be closed."

Firmin's new duties also include developing a strategic plan to address faculty diversity and placement goals.