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Commencement Close-Up: Willie James Black Jr. values symbol of accomplishments

ring ceremony
ring ceremony
ring ceremony

Top photo: UTSA student Willie James Black Jr. with his new UTSA ring
Middle photo: Gage E. Paine (UTSA vice president for student affairs) presents ring to Black
Bottom photo: The whole family admires the ring: From left are Willie James Black Jr., Lisandra Black (wife), Taina Black (daughter), Willie James Black Sr. (father) and Willie James Black III (son)

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(May 8, 2012) -- As another academic year wraps up, many UTSA students are preparing for the final leg of the road to graduation. At this point in a student's academic career, momentum becomes important; the UTSA ring and ring presentation ceremony inspire students by reminding them of just how far they have come.

More than 260 UTSA students received their rings at a May 7 ceremony in the Convocation Center on the Main Campus. Alumni and students who have completed 60 credit hours are eligible to participate in the ceremony.

Willie James Black Jr., one of the students receiving a ring, will receive his doctoral degree in educational leadership on May 11. The graduate student understands the ring can have many meanings to various students.

"I feel like it was important for me to get a ring to signify my accomplishments, and I wanted some kind of connection to UTSA," said Black. "UTSA is a prestigious university -- we are moving toward Tier One status -- and is a place I can really be proud of."

Black admitted that the road to graduation was overwhelming at times, but gives credit to the tremendous support from his family, who were enjoying the evening celebration.

"I'm very proud of my husband," said Lisandra Black. "It's been a long road. Now we can finally rest and look forward to celebrating his achievements."

Regardless of major, graduation is the one goal most students have in common. As UTSA continues to grow, so do the traditions of the university. The ring forms a symbol that connects students past, present and future.

The UTSA Office of Alumni Programs administers the UTSA ring program. For more information, call 210-458-4133 or visit the UTSA Alumni Programs website and select "Official UTSA Ring."



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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UTSA's Mission

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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