(Oct. 7, 2010)--UTSA President Ricardo Romo addressed students, faculty, staff, elected officials and guests Wednesday afternoon in the University Center Ballroom on the Main Campus for his second annual State of the University address. The 45-minute address detailed UTSA's momentum over the last year toward fulfilling its vision to become a Tier One national research university. Romo was introduced by Bexar County's Rep. Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio native and vice chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.
Romo spoke of his pride for UTSA's teaching faculty and touted their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to students in advancing their knowledge of the world and their chosen professional fields.
"This year we were fortunate to have nine UTSA faculty members selected to receive the prestigious UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award," said Romo. "After UT Austin, that is more than any other school in the UT System."
Additionally, Romo pointed out accomplishments within the ranks of research faculty and the university's commitment to continue recruiting the best and brightest and to build the infrastructure needed to do groundbreaking research. He also highlighted the 34-percent increase in total research spending over the previous fiscal year.
"Late last fall, we announced $46 million in research spending, up from the previous year's figure of $34 million," said Romo. "And, what is even more significant is when you look at our progress over five years, we essentially doubled our research expenditures. This is incredible momentum."
New collaborations with multiple private and public partners were addressed, in particular the 10-year, $50 million agreement between the UTSA Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute and CPS Energy, which will help propel San Antonio as a national leader in green technology research.
"During the last fiscal year, UTSA raised more private dollars than ever before," said Romo, who thanked members of the university's Development Board along with visionary friends and alumni who are giving to help UTSA become a world-class university for world-class students.
"Both the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund and AT&T supported our faculty research this past year, Valero Energy is helping us recruit graduate students, and one alumni couple, Jim and Cathy Bodenstedt, provided $1 million for Roadrunner football. Now, that is what I call momentum."
The grandest announcement in the speech, however, concerned the posthumous $22 million estate gift from Mary E. McKinney. The largest single private gift in university history will provide financial aid, including full-ride scholarships, to students working toward their degrees.
"Some of the most transformational gifts begin modestly with the simple intent to make a difference," said Romo. "Miss McKinney, an accomplished woman with a master's degree, took some classes here in the '90s, and after seeing how finances often impede students from continuing their education, she set up a modest scholarship in her parents' name. What we were not aware of is that Miss McKinney had plans for it to continue after she had passed."
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.