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The College of Liberal and Fine Arts


Return From Exile

Return From Exile

30 years later, Mansour El-Kikhia returns to Libya

Exploring Culture and Consciousness

Exploring Culture
and Consciousness

Norma Cantú's study abroad course opens perspectives within and without

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight

The photojournalism of Jack London

Patriotic Envelopes of the Civil War

Patriotic Envelopes of
the Civil War

Marketing tools in the conflict between North and South

Introducing COLFA's Endowed Faculty Chairs

Introducing COLFA's
Endowed Faculty Chairs

Understanding their vital role in UTSA's transformation to a premier research institution

Promising Scholars

Promising Scholars

How graduate students leverage COLFA resources to fuel their passions

Rebuilding the Welfare State

Rebuilding the Welfare State

UTSA professors examine European solutions

A New Musical Challenge

A New Musical Challenge

Opera Navarro pays homage to Texas founding father

Alumni Profile: Tim Craig

Alumni Profile: Tim Craig

A journey from shamanism to the consumer's subconscious

Thirty Years Among Plains Indians

Thirty Years Among
Plains Indians

Origins of a textbook

The Spirit of San Antonio

The Spirit of San Antonio

First steps for the UTSA Marching Band

Welcome to another edition of Ovations, highlighting the outstanding achievements of students, faculty and supporters of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts.


John Frederick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Out of the tens of thousands of words in this issue of Ovations, that one word, aspirations, jumped out at me—twice, from seemingly disparate articles—when I read the stories in this issue. The first instance was in an article about senior lecturer and athletic bands director Ron Ellis, who, in trying to describe the magical moment when a university band marches onto the field, characterized the musicians as representing “all the hopes and aspirations” of everyone at that university.

The second instance was in a very different story, a Q&A with Political Science and Geography Department Chair Mansour El-Kikhia about his recent return to his home country of Libya after 30 years in exile. When asked about Muammar Gaddafi’s fate, El-Kikhia bluntly expresses his contempt for the regime that “destroyed the aspirations and dreams of so many people.”

With one word, aspirations, we are transported spiritually to a jubilant, fan-filled sports stadium and then asked to ponder a conflict-ravaged country on the other side of the globe. The common thread bridging the two realms is embedded in the human condition and our constant search for a sense of place and purpose, and also an understanding of our world.

UTSA does an outstanding job of preparing students to enter an array of professions; our students leave ready to enter careers as architects, engineers, economists, physicists, teachers, and many others. But it is the College of Liberal and Fine Arts that best represents our aspirations for our students and their ability to positively impact our world. Through the study of history, philosophy, literature, the arts and other disciplines, COLFA majors and non-majors alike develop the critical thinking and analytical skills—and the deeper understanding of what it means to be human—that will serve them for the rest of their lives no matter what profession they enter.

I appreciate Dean Dan Gelo’s invitation to write the welcome message for this issue of Ovations (and the special leap of faith it took to entrust a theoretical chemist to perform this task). I also want to thank you, the readers, for your stalwart support of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts and its efforts to provide the core intellectual experience that is preparing all UTSA students for their role as responsible citizens of this world.

In short, I thank you for sharing the aspirations of all of us at UTSA.

John Frederick,
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs