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Obama appoints Romo to White House Advisory Commission on Hispanic Education


UTSA President Ricardo Romo

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(May 31, 2011)--Ricardo Romo, president of The University of Texas at San Antonio, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on a commission that will advise the president and U.S. Secretary of Education on ways to improve education for Hispanics. Romo traveled to Washington, D.C., May 26-27 for the commission's inaugural meeting and swearing in.

The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics was created through an executive order signed by President Obama on Oct. 18, 2010, and is charged with "expanding educational opportunities, improving education outcomes and delivering a complete and competitive education for all Hispanics."

White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics director Juan Sepulveda said the commission will chart ways to increase Hispanic educational attainment, which is important for the country's economy.

"The commission will identify ways to strengthen our country. Hispanic students have graduated at lower rates than the rest of the population for years, making America's progress impossible if they continue to lag behind," said Sepulveda. "Strengthening and improving educational excellence in this community isn't just a Hispanic problem. It's a challenge for our entire country."

"I am privileged to be appointed to this important commission," said Romo. "The growing Hispanic population in Texas is a preview of the diversity we will soon experience across the nation. It is critical that we prepare all our students to succeed -- in school, at their jobs and in life."

According to excerpts from the executive order to create the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Hispanics are the United States' largest and fastest-growing minority group. Fifty-two million Hispanics live in the United States including four million in Puerto Rico. Hispanics also are the largest minority group in U.S. schools. More than 11 million Hispanic students are enrolled in America's pre-kindergarten through 12th grades, comprising 22 percent of the nation's total pre-K through 12th grade student enrollment. However, only 12 percent of adult Hispanics have a bachelor's degree, and just 3 percent have completed graduate or professional degree programs.

The advisory commission will be responsible for:

  • developing, implementing and coordinating educational programs and initiatives at the Department of Education (DOE) and other agencies to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for Hispanics of all ages;
  • increasing the participation of the Hispanic community and Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the DOE's programs and in education programs at other agencies;
  • engaging the philanthropic, business, nonprofit and education communities in a national dialogue regarding the mission and objectives of this order; and
  • establishing partnerships with public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit stakeholders to meet the mission and policy objectives of this order.

A nationally respected urban historian, Romo is the author of "East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio," now in its ninth printing. As president of UTSA, a Hispanic-serving institution, Romo oversees the operation of two academic campuses that educate more than 30,000 students as well as the Institute of Texan Cultures. The university, which is vying with six others in Texas to become a Tier One research institution, has experienced more than 50 percent growth in enrollment over the last 10 years. More than 60 percent of UTSA's students come from groups underrepresented in higher education.

In 2002, President Bush appointed Romo to the President's Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In 2004, Romo was appointed as a U.S. representative to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization and in 2008, he joined a 23-member commission to explore the potential of creating a national museum dedicated to American Latinos.

Currently, Romo serves on nearly two dozen boards at the local, state and national levels including the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, the American Council on Education, Comexus and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Other individuals appointed by President Obama to the commission include Eduardo J. Padron (chair) and Cesar Conde of Florida; Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D., Sylvia Acevedo and JoAnn Gama of Texas; Darline P. Robles and Patricia Gandara of California; Alicia Abella and Marta Tienda of New Jersey; Luis R. Fraga of Washington; Maria Neira and Lisette Nieves of New York; Daniel Cardinali of Virginia; Manny Sanchez of Illinoius; and Alfredo J. Artiles of Arizona.



Dec. 1, 9 a.m.

CITE Venture Competition & Exposition

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

Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert

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

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Did You Know?

UTSA writes the book on all-digital libraries

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.

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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.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA's Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

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