(April 1, 2013) -- UTSA President Ricardo Romo, a noted educator and historian whose work celebrates Latino history and heritage while also creating opportunities for the advancement of minorities, received the Wheaton College Otis Social Justice Award in Boston last week.
Romo received the college's award for promoting social justice through education and public service. Following the award presentation, Romo delivered a lecture, "The Latino Bridge to the Civil Rights Movement."
Romo began his tenure as president of UTSA in 1999, and he has led a dramatic expansion of the school's programs and its capacity to serve students. Student enrollment has risen by 68 percent. The university has added numerous programs and facilities to enhance student life and expand its research capacity. The institution was named one of the state's eight emerging research universities by the Texas Legislature.
Romo has received numerous awards and recognitions for his service to the university and the community. In 2011, Romo was presented the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Chief Executive Leadership Award for transforming UTSA from a regional campus into an emerging Tier One research university. In February 2012, Romo received the Colonel W.T. Bondurant Sr. Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the San Antonio Academy of Texas Alumni Council.
A nationally respected urban historian, Romo's scholarship has helped to uncover the history of Mexican-Americans and their role in the development of the United States. His area of interest reflects his background as the grandson of Mexicans who emigrated to Texas in search of a better life.
"I became a history teacher because in college I discovered the history that I was going to learn had nothing to do with the unofficial history that I had learned as a child," said Romo in a public television interview about his work. "I was learning history with very little connection to my community and my family."
"East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio," Romo's best-known book, tells the story of the settlement of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles early in the 20th century and their contributions to southern California's cultural and economic development. He also is the author of numerous journal articles and reviews, and he is the co-editor of the book, "New Directions in Chicano Studies."
Romo began his academic career teaching social studies in Los Angeles. He went on to teach at the University of California at San Diego and the University of Texas at Austin. He was a visiting professor at University of California, Berkeley in 1985 and visiting scholar with the Stanford University Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences.
A San Antonio native who grew up on the city's West Side, Romo graduated from Fox Tech High School before attending the University of Texas at Austin on a track scholarship. At UT Austin, he was the first Texan to run the mile in less than four minutes, a record that lasted 41 years. He earned a bachelor's degree in education from UT Austin, a master's degree in history from Loyola Marymount University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Otis Social Justice lecture series was established in 1959 through the generosity of Henry Witte Otis, whose children included two Wheaton graduates. Eleanor Roosevelt, the longest-serving U.S. first lady (1933-1945) and the first chair of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, was among the earliest Otis lecturers (1962). Today, the purpose of the Otis Fund has broadened to support a colloquium in social justice -- a forum through which the Wheaton community may address key contemporary social issues. The first Otis Social Justice Award was presented in 1990 to former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. Texan Molly Ivins, an author, also received the award in addition to playwright Howard Zinn and U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.
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.
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