Reflections: UTSA Engineering celebrates 30 years of teaching, research

College of Engineering

From left are Alberto Arroyo, C. Mauli Agrawal and Amir Karimi at the UTSA College of Engineering 30th anniversary celebration.

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(Dec. 3, 2012) -- 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the UTSA engineering program, one that has changed the face of UTSA and put San Antonio on the map in attracting industry. In 1982, engineering split from the College of Sciences and Mathematics to become its own division, and, for the first time, the university offered a four-year, undergraduate engineering degree.

Today, the UTSA College of Engineering is the fastest growing engineering program in Texas and is making great strides in providing world-class education and research opportunities to the region's multicultural community and beyond.

Civil engineering professor Alberto Arroyo and mechanical engineering professor Amir Karimi led the first engineering classes on the UTSA campus in 1982 and are still on the faculty today.

"I have devoted the last 30 years to my students and to the development of the engineering program," said Arroyo. "I feel proud to have been part of a group of pioneering faculty who were able to envision and plan the creation of the graduate programs and change our university from a teaching institution to a research institution."

"Graduates of the engineering program have made major contributions to the economic development of the San Antonio region, the state and the nation," said Karimi. "It is a great joy to see that your former students have succeeded in their professional careers."

Mario Gonzalez played an integral role in the engineering division's formative years as its first director. "There were so many outstanding faculty then, just as there are now." reflects Gonzalez. "UTSA has grown enormously. Without engineering, the university would not be what it is today."

Current dean C. Mauli Agrawal is similarly proud of the accomplishments of the college and is focused on leading UTSA toward Tier One status. In fact, Agrawal was recently appointed to a new UT System Task Force on Engineering Education for Texas in the 21st Century that will determine the current state of engineering degree programs in Texas, study current and future demand for engineers, and identify strategies that will foster student success in the field of engineering while supporting the economic growth across the state.

The San Antonio metro area is one of the fastest growing in the nation and with growth comes demand for engineers from various disciplines.

"There is no question that Texas leads the country in economic strength and San Antonio plays a large part in this," said Agrawal. "It is important that UTSA develops highly capable engineering leaders to meet not only the demand created from new business, but also to create a lasting impact to our community's quality of life."

>> Read more about the UTSA College of Engineering's 30-year history in the anniversary issue of "Innovations."