Monday, August 03, 2015

Meet a Roadrunner: Huge heart, brilliant mind, Pat Graham is 'UTSA mom,' mentor to many

Pat Graham
Pat Graham

Pat Graham -- now and in 1975

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(June 4, 2014) -- Meet Pat Graham. This October, Graham will celebrate her 40th year at UTSA.

The year she started, the university was still operating out of the Koger Center. She remembers clearly when everything transitioned to the "new" campus off of Loop 1604, today's Main Campus, which at the time was jokingly referred to as "UT-Boerne."

"We had to park along UTSA Boulevard, and then they would bus us into campus and drop us off at what is now the McKinney Humanities Building. The 'library' was in one of the [athletics] small courts in the PE building, and if you wanted to check out a book, the librarian would send a courier to UT-Austin to get the book and bring it back the next day for you."

Graham's mind is a treasure chest of vivid memories of all the students she has met. She's known for surprising UTSA alumni by remembering their first names and the first time they met.

In her role as executive director of the Special Events Center, she oversees major university events such as Commencement and Fall Convocation. She facilitates the UTSA Ambassadors program, which consists of 60+ student leaders each year who serve as hosts at campus events, conferences, and community and alumni functions. Over the past 25 years, more than 1,000 students have gone through the program. Many of them are passionately loyal to UTSA and remain in close contact with Graham.

"Dr. Graham did so much for me, and I'm so grateful to have had her in my life. She truly was my UTSA mom," said Diana Cuervo '13, M.S. '14. "What's really special about her is that she's not only like this with me; she's special with every single individual who crosses her path. She has a huge heart and a brilliant mind, and her experience with UTSA makes it easy for any student to relate. She can help anyone with anything, even problems that aren't UTSA related. She's always there to talk. Dr. Graham is the UTSA mom everyone wants to have, and I'm glad she was mine for the past 5 years."

One of Graham's most distinctive qualities is her ability to see the potential in people and help them recognize it for themselves.

"I believe in the rough diamond theory. A rough diamond just looks like an old rock. But if you polish it, you'll get a beautiful gem."

With all the ways the university has grown and changed over the years, she says there is still a clear understanding that we are here to help our students succeed above anything else.

"To have the opportunity to make a difference in people's lives is a huge responsibility, but it's also a huge reward," she said. "I have the best job in the world."


Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at, so we might consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.

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Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

Read More »
Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.

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UTSA's Mission

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UTSA's Vision

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