Friday, November 27, 2015


Nigerian Obi Okolo found his path by studying architecture, interior design at UTSA

Share this Story

(Dec. 10, 2013) -- Meet Obiekwe Okolo. He's eager to use his UTSA degree to serve humanity.

Okolo attributes his propensity for service to his Nigerian heritage, which puts society before the individual. The 23-year-old spent the first half of his life in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria and the latter half in San Antonio.

Before Obi began at UTSA, he had intended to attend school for a music degree. After the hard decision to pursue something conventionally more secure, he enrolled in Professor Mark Blizard's Architecture and Culture class and instantly decided that architecture and interior design was where he wanted to be in life. That was the semester that Blizard showed him that architecture and design are, in many ways, music frozen in time.

While at UTSA, Okolo became active in the UTSA chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. He joined the organization as a sophomore and now serves on its national board as director of the south quadrant, which includes 48 chapters and approximately 1,700 students. He's proud to be a voice for students and an advocate for the profession.

In the future, he plans to further develop his Web-based philanthropic and pro-bono design-build initiative, Buildsocial, a global crowd-funding platform that allows anyone to participate in community-conscious architecture and design efforts. Anyone can donate as little as $5 toward making life-changing design solutions a reality for people who couldn't normally afford them. The project has grown much faster that he and his team ever anticipated.

"College is a constant struggle, and my UTSA professors guided and helped me in turning that struggle into success," said Okolo, who notes that architecture faculty Vincent Canizaro and Diane Hays also greatly influenced him, challenged him to succeed and encouraged him. "They were big mentors for me and helped me find that balance and were tremendous advocates while I was here."

Okolo will graduate this semester with a UTSA bachelor's degree in interior design.


Do you know a fascinating UTSA student who is planning to graduate in May 2014? Share that story with us at



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

Other Calendars
» UTSA Events | » Academic | » Institute of Texan Cultures

Submit an Event

Meet a Roadrunner

Jennifer Vassell writes children's books about health

Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children

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.

Read More »

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.

Connect with UTSA News


Related Links

Back to Top

2015 © The University of Texas at San Antonio  | One UTSA Circle San Antonio, TX 78249 | Information 210-458-4011

Produced by University Communications and Marketing