Friday, August 28, 2015

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

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(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.

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

 

 

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UTSA makes the grade with a strong core curriculum

UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.

For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.

Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.

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Aug. 27, 6 - 8 p.m.

25Veinticinco exhibit opening reception

This exhibit includes prints by 25 Latino and Latina artists who worked in collaboration with a master printer in the print studio at the UTSA Department of Art and Art History. It runs through Oct. 12.
Downtown Campus Art Gallery, Durango Building Room 1.122, Downtown Campus

Aug. 28, 12 p.m.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Advancing Research and Transformative Practice

This book talk will feature a presentation by the book’s co-editors Anne-Marie Núñez, ELPS associate professor, Sylvia Hurtado, professor at the University of California Los Angeles, and Emily Calderón Galdeano, director of research for Excelencia in Education.
Buena Vista Theater (BV 1.326), Downtown Campus

Sept. 15, 5:30 - 7 p.m.

Changing the Conversation: Recovery Works!

As part of National Recovery Month, a panel of substance abuse practitioners and members of the recovery community will discuss issues related to substance abuse treatment and recovery.
Durango Building 1.124 (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus


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