(Jan. 7, 2015) -- Meet Fernando Ortiz Jr. At an early age, he charted the life he wanted to lead; journalist, academic scholar and author. At age 40, Ortiz is two-thirds of the way to reaching those lifetime goals.
Born in Connecticut, Ortiz moved to Corpus Christi with his family and then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he was fortunate enough to work side-by-side with his future wife, Ayse, at the Daily Texan student newspaper.
After earning his history degree, Ortiz worked briefly for a Boston publishing company but returned home to be closer to his loved ones and girlfriend, now residing in San Antonio. He worked seven years at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and climbed his way up from news assistant to a seat on the editorial board, a feat that had never been done before at the paper. All the while, Ortiz and Ayse commuted between cities to see each other.
In 2006, a junior copywriter position opened up at the San Antonio Express-News, and Ortiz jumped at the opportunity. On the job, he earned promotions up to senior editor, but after 11 years in the media business, he decided to take a buy-out offer and begin the next phase of his charted plan.
Ortiz enrolled at UTSA to pursue a master's degree in history. His writing experience and ability to edit and clearly express himself helped him land several positions as a grader, teaching assistant and research assistant. He enjoyed helping students write essays and improve their writing skills.
As a graduate student, Ortiz flourished and engrossed himself in his master's thesis, "Port in the Storm: Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, Hurricane Beulah and the Lower Rio Grande Valley."
The thesis focused on a revered physician who dedicated 60 years of his life to serving the impoverished and less fortunate in need of medical attention in Starr County. Ramirez' efforts were key to expanding health care for tens of thousands of Valley residents and helped open up medical educational opportunities for area students.
In September 1967, he used his skills to provide medical care to hurricane victims in the Rio Grande Valley and in Mexico when catastrophic rains hit the areas. He also was instrumental in mobilizing state and federal resources to provide aid.
"He believed, from the very beginning of his life, that he could make a difference, and after Beulah, government and military officials came to visit him to praise him for his effective leadership in a crisis situation," said Ortiz.
Ortiz credits his supportive wife and the UTSA history faculty for pushing him along the way.
Now that the thesis is complete and his master's degree is in hand, Ortiz is reviewing doctoral programs around the country and looking to publish his research on Dr. Ramirez and Hurricane Beulah.
Do you know someone connected with UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.
Read the stories of other UTSA students, faculty, staff and alumni on the Meet a Roadrunner website.
Successful first-year students at UTSA are those who learn how to utilize resources, recognize and resolve problems, and prepare themselves to take advantage of their time on campus. The Student Success Series promotes this achievement by offering workshops on the common concerns and questions first-year students have during their transition to university life.
University Center Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
The Fraternity & Sorority Councils New Member Information Session gives students information about the diverse organizations, their membership requirements, the benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority, as well as discussing important information about hazing guidelines and the responsibilities of joining these types of organizations.
University Center, Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02), Main Campus
Come be a part of your official Class of 2021 picture! The entire freshmen class gather at the Recreation Field Complex which some may know as the UTSA Football Practice Field behind the Softball Complex and Alvarez Hall.
Recreation Field Complex, Main Campus
Come show your Roadrunner Spirit by joining our very own Rowdy, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band (SOSA), your fellow students, faculty and staff as we light the Monument at our Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight to mark the start of a new academic year.
John Peace Blvd. entrance, Main Campus
Join President Eighmy for this celebration to kick off the new school year. The event will feature live musical performances and a free BBQ dinner.
Convocation Center Lawn, Main Campus
Join fellow Roadrunners on the Downtown Campus for this free BBQ dinner.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
New and returning graduate students are encouraged to stop by before going to class to learn more about what UTSA has to offer, participate in fun activities, listen to music, connect with peers and enjoy refreshments.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus
Students are invited to attend the Fraternity|Sorority Life Informational Sessions and Mix & Mingle. This is an opportunity for students to meet-and-greet members of the Fraternity/Sorority Life community, and get together with your new Roadrunner friends.
UC Travis and Harris Rooms (HUC 2.202 and HUC 2.212) then UC Lawn, Main Campus
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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.