Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Dr. Manuel P. Berriozábal, joined the faculty of the University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) College of Sciences in 1976. Just three years into his tenure, Dr. Berriozábal brought a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) based program, which has earned national recognition and become known as the Pre-Freshman Engineering Program (PREP). As of today, the program spans seven states and has reached over 50,000 students in Texas alone.

Dr. Berriozábal always had a distinct passion for mathematics and a commitment to creating opportunities for student success, particularly those in underserved communities which he also worked with in Louisiana prior to returning to his hometown of San Antonio. In 1979, an article in a local San Antonio Magazine caught his attention. An anonymous comment in the article read, “The Mexican-American community is not where engineers come from anyway.” The statement fueled his already firm commitment to reaching the youth of Hispanic communities across San Antonio.

Dr. Berriozábal created PREP in 1979 and served as the program’s director through 2003. PREP is a challenging summer enrichment academic program for middle and high school students that emphasizes abstract reasoning, problem solving, and exposes participants to careers through professional speakers and trips to job sites. Dr. Berriozábal encouraged students who attended PREP to enroll at UTSA after they graduated high school. He found that students who participated in PREP did significantly better at the university than those who had not.

In 1998, the Washington, DC-based Quality Education for Minorities Network named Dr. Berriozábal as one of the six “Giants in Science.” Soon following this award in February, he became a recipient of the San Antonio "I Have a Dream" Foundation Endeavors Award in May of that same year.

Dr. Berriozábal’s additional awards and achievements include the American Society for Cell Biology Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education in 2009; the University of Texas System Chancellor's Council Innovations in Education Award in 2007; and the Mathematical Association of America Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics in 2001.

The influential professor was also named an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society (AMS) for outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication, and utilization of mathematics in 2013. His specific PREP program accolades include the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring; a Texas Higher Education Star Award; citations from the Texas Legislature; and a congressionally mandated Building Engineering and Science Talent (BEST) Project citation.

An author of more than 30 publications in journals and conference proceedings in topology and mathematics education, Dr. Berriozábal has made presentations at 60 local, state, and national conferences surrounding STEM education topics. Additionally, he spoke before a congressional subcommittee on basic research and the Texas Lieutenant Governor's Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities.

Thanks to the tireless work of Dr. Berriozábal, the success of the PREP program is so well regarded that other universities across the country have adapted the model and the program now exists at 33 sites in 25 cities and seven states as of 2019.

Dr. Berriozabal retired from UTSA in 2018. He continues to reside in San Antonio and remains partially involved with the PREP program - his wonderful gift to future students at UTSA and across the country. Beloved by his students and fellow faculty, he taught at UTSA longer than most professors because of his passion for the field of mathematics and student success.

By Jordan Allen, Development Writer

Professional Awards and Citations:

1990 Society of Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists Engineering Educator of the Year Award.

1992 Society of Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists Annual BRAVO Award.

1992 Ford Motor Company Hispanic Salute to Education Award.

1994 Hispanic Heritage Award in Education.

1998 Quality Education for Minorities Giants in Science Award.

1998 San Antonio Chapter of the Texas Association of Chicanos in Higher Education, Education Leadership Excellence Award.

2000 Charter inductee of the Texas Science Hall of Fame along with two famous surgeons, four astronauts, and four Nobel Laureates.

2001 Recipient of the Mathematical Association of America Yueh-Gin Gung and Dr. Charles Y. Hu Award for Distinguished Service to Mathematics. This association’s most prestigious award is presented annually to one of its 24,000 members.

2001 Hispanic Business Magazine, 100 Most Influential Hispanics, Volume 23, Number 10.

2003 UTSA President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in University Service

2003 Texas Senate Commendation (resolution no.822)

2004 Volvo for Life Hometown Hero Award

2004 San Antonio City Public Service Amazing Energy Educator Award

2004 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Distinguished K–12 Educator Award

2007 One of three inaugural recipients of the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council Innovations in Education Awards

2007 Texas Senate Commendation (Resolution No. 958)

2007 Texas House of Representatives Commendation (Resolution No. 1799)

2009 American Society for Cell Biology Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education

2012 San Antonio City Council voted to rename Café College the Dr. Manuel P. Berriozábal Café College

2013 Induction as an Inaugural Fellow of the American Mathematical Society

2013 Mexican American Unity Council Spirit of Education Achievement Award (May 16, 2013)

2013 Texas House of Representatives Commendation (13R332 – May 14, 2013)

San Antonio PREP and TexPREP

1980 San Antonio PREP. San Antonio PREP was designated an outstanding CETA Summer Youth Program by the U.S. Department of Labor.

1986 TexPREP. TexPREP was designated as an exemplary EESA Program by the Department of Education.

1987 San Antonio PREP. The United Negro College Fund, Inc. presented the program with the Fred D. Patterson Award for rendering outstanding service in the interest of and the support of the minority community.

1987 TexPREP. The Texas Senate Resolution No. 480 commended the work of TexPrep.

1991 San Antonio PREP. The U.S. Department of Energy presented San Antonio PREP a Mathematics/Science Leadership Development and Recognition Program Award.

1992 TexPREP. In September 1992, TexPREP was selected as a 1992 Star of Texas in the Lone Star Showcase and Salute to Community Service.

1992 San Antonio PREP. The Business Higher Education Forum of the American Council on Education awarded San Antonio PREP a Certificate of Merit in the 1992 Anderson Medal Awards Program.

1993 TexPREP. Texas Senate commended the work of TexPREP (Resolution #215).

1995 TexPREP. TexPREP received the Corporate Fund for Children Best of Texas Two-Step Award.

1997 San Antonio PREP. San Antonio PREP received a Presidential Award in Washington, D. C. for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

1998 San Antonio PREP. National Latino Children’s Institute Un Futuro Brillante Award.

2001 TexPREP. The Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network selected TexPREP as a recipient of the MSE Exemplary Education Partnership Award.

2002 TexPREP. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board selected TexPREP as a recipient of the Texas Higher Education Star Award.

2004 TexPREP was cited by the Congressionally Mandated BEST (Building Engineering and Science Talent) Project as one of twenty programs nationally to increase the diversity of women, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities in the nation’s technical talent pool.

2015 PREP was recognized as a BRIGHT SPOT in Hispanic Education by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.