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State of the University: President says UTSA students must always be priority

Ricardo Romo
Zack Dunn

Top photo: UTSA President Ricardo Romo
Bottom photo: Zack Dunn, president of UTSA Student Government Association
(Photos by Mark McClendon)

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(Sept. 24, 2013) -- UTSA President Ricardo Romo delivered the annual State of the University address at 3 p.m., Tuesday, to an audience of nearly 400 in the University Center Ballroom on the UTSA Main Campus and to an online audience watching a live stream. The central theme was that everything we do at UTSA is for the students and that they must always be the top priority.

>> Watch a video of the 2013 UTSA State of the University address.

Romo discussed the successes of UTSA in the past year and outlined a renewed emphasis on students, who depend upon excellent professors and excellent opportunities for success.

Zack Dunn, president of the UTSA Student Government Association, began by leading the audience in applause to thank Dr. Harriett Romo, UTSA first lady, professor of sociology and director of the Mexico Center, for her service to the university. He then introduced President Romo, describing their first meeting.

Never thinking he would ever meet the president when he came to UTSA, Dunn said he immediately saw that Romo has a way of connecting with students in a genuine manner that is unmatched.

"The first time I met him, I sat next to Dr. Romo at a dinner, and he asked me about where I was from and my interests -- and he never touched his food because he was talking to me," Dunn said. "Meeting Dr. Romo was an experience I will remember for the rest of my life."

Romo began by expressing his gratitude to the supporters of the university, whose gifts are bringing gifted researchers from around the world, talented students and excellence to the UTSA campuses. He said that the support of donors, faculty and staff keep UTSA focused on the journey to Tier One status. He expressed his appreciation for the ongoing success of the university's first capital campaign, which met its $120 million goal a year and a half early and set a new goal of $175 million.

The president highlighted the growth over the last decade in enrollment, building construction and the move last spring of commencement ceremonies to the downtown Alamodome sports complex, noting that the 100,000th graduate is expected to walk the platform in the next year.

"Who would have guessed a few years ago that we would need a space the size of the Alamodome to accommodate our commencement ceremonies?" Romo asked.

Campus development highlights included:

  • A new advising program in which students will work with an advisor from their college for their entire time at UTSA
  • A faculty center in the John Peace Library offering new teaching resources
  • The new San Saba Hall, adding more than 600 beds to on-campus residences, along with mentoring and tutoring centers
  • The new North Paseo Building that will bring staff from the University Heights office park back to campus, saving the university significantly on building costs, and where staff can better interact with the campus community
  • New football practice fields and the opening of the Park West track and soccer complex (where Romo ran with students and children around the new track)
  • The new tradition of the Rowdy roadrunner statue

Romo described student success stories including a student who had 24 family members at his commencement ceremony, a 62-year-old man who had dreamed for 30 years of going to college and succeeded by earning a UTSA degree, a young woman who commuted 162 miles round-trip each day to earn a UTSA teaching degree, and another student who persisted against a language barrier and other challenges to become a UTSA graduate and a bilingual education teacher.

Citing a local 80/20 Foundation study revealing a "brain gain" in San Antonio that matches Austin, Romo said the rise of college graduates coming to the city is an opportunity for UTSA to provide more trained grads for the expanding workforce. To do this, he said, UTSA needs more endowed professorships to help prepare students.

Romo noted that it aids UTSA's journey to Tier One status to be among the top 500 universities in the world by the Shanghai University Rankings of World Universities, measured against more than 1,200 universities in 43 countries. Additionally, UTSA was ranked for the second year as one of the top 100 young universities in the world, among only eight other U.S. universities.

Romo emphasized that a university is Tier One "when we act it, believe it and live it, which UTSA is doing every day."

"Our students deserve the best because they are the best," he said. "Helping to create opportunities for excellence for our students is what being top-tier is all about. So, let's act it, believe it and live it every day for our students."

Audience member Rosalind Horowitz, a professor of discourse and literacy studies in the College of Education and Human Development and a member of the UTSA Research Advisory Board, said, "I liked President Romo's definition of what a Tier One university is and his emphasis on excellence. Many people don't know what Tier One means, and this helps a lot. I appreciated his effort to give us real-life examples of successful students who had several universities they could attend but who chose UTSA. This was very positive and encouraging."

 

 

Events
Feb. 5, 6:15 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy's Curtis Vaughan Observatory will offer free stargazing for the public beginning on top of the 4th floor of the Flawn Science Building. Experienced astronomers will be on hand to show a variety of astronomical objects and answer any questions. This event is free and open to the public, so feel free to invite friends and family.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory

Feb. 6, All Day

10th annual San Antonio Writing Project Teachers' Conference

This year's keynote speaker is Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisper. The event will feature breakout sessions and a presentation by the Creative Writers from North East School of the Arts. The event is free and open to all teachers from Pre-K through university level. Attendees can earn a certificate for 3 hours of Professional Development Credit.
Riklin Auditorium (FS1.406), Downtown Campus

Feb. 9, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. & 6 - 9 p.m.

Rowdy Gras 2016

The UTSA community is invited to attend the 3rd annual Rowdy Gras celebration! This year Rowdy Gras includes a daytime event from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. with a free food tasting and music on the UC Paseo. The main event takes place from 6 - 9 p.m. in the UC Lawn. The event includes free food, live jazz music, activities and giveaways.
University Center Paseo & Lawn, UTSA Main Campus

Feb. 10, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning 2015-16 Speaker Series

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s 2015-16 Speaker Series continues with Dana Cuff, Ph.D., a professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of California, Los Angeles. In her talk, Cuff will discuss new forms of “studio” and new types of practices. Free and open to the public.
Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328), UTSA Downtown Campus

Feb. 13, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

29th annual Asian Festival - Year of the Monkey

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures invites Texas and Texans to the Asian Festival. What began as a traditional family reunion for the Chinese New Year has expanded to include other Asian communities and participants, showcasing their unique culture and traditions.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Feb. 13, 1 p.m.

2016 Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium

Join the UTSA Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching in celebrating interdisciplinary inquiry at the 2016  Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium.  The colloquium will include a panel of faculty and recent doctoral graduate and a showcase of the best IDS undergraduate inquiry projects of the year 2015. The event is free and open to the public.
Business Building (BB 2.06.04), UTSA Main Campus

Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m.

African-American Social Welfare Pioneers Responding to Community Needs

The UTSA College of Public Policy presents the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey, Professor of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Iris Carlton LaNey will speak to the UTSA community about the role and impact of African-Americans in the social work profession.
Buena Vista Theater (BV 1.326), Downtown Campus

Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

Presentation and Book Signing with Luis Carlos Montalvan

Please join us for a presentation and book signing by Luis Carlos Montalván (Fmr. Capt., USA), author of the New York Times Bestseller Until Tuesday and the international award-winning childrens book Tuesday Tucks Me In. His books will be available for purchase at the UTSA Bookstore. This event is free and open to the public.
Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Feb. 25, 6 p.m.

12th Annual Black Heritage Gala

The 12th Annual Black Heritage Gala is a formal event which includes a student performance, keynote remarks by Michael Brown, an award presentation, dinner and dancing. Tickets are $10 for UTSA students and $15 for all other guests. Tickets are on sale now at Roadrunner Express. Contact (210) 458-4770 for more information.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Feb. 27, 9 a.m.

Cultural Contrasts in Latin America

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will host a free workshop focusing on teaching Latin American culture and geography for students seeking their teacher certification. The workshop includes free resources for teaching Latin American subject matter as well as presentations on language, identity, music, geography, and political and developmental history, and a special educators’ tour of the museum’s Los Tejanos exhibit. Free with registration.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC 3.01.02)


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2015 was a significant year for UTSA. As the university moved forward on the road to Tier One research, designations and recruitment of high caliber faculty and students, it also completed its first ever capital campaign. Read about UTSA's accomplishments in the 2015 Year in Review as we look forward to what the next year will bring.

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UTSA's Vision

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