Just months ago, in the previous issue of Sombrilla Magazine, we were looking forward to 2020 and beyond—from the university’s Campus Master Plan to major development projects already in the works. As the year unfolded, however, it became exceedingly difficult to look beyond 2020. The coronavirus pandemic brought with it the biggest upheaval to research efforts, instruction delivery, and university life that UTSA has ever experienced. More profoundly, it brought suffering of all kinds to our nation, our state, and our city.
But early on, even before the virus was having a direct effect on UTSA or San Antonio, our researchers were diving into data to provide insights and create solutions for the community. As university leadership was developing plans in real time to safely ensure the continued delivery of education, an extraordinary number of people affiliated with UTSA—faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations—stepped up to help others during the pandemic with the caring, hard-working spirit that so fittingly embodies what we’re all about. We salute all of the Roadrunners who made contributions to aid, uplift, and maintain our course during the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime.
Of course, COVID-19 was not the only source of widespread discord in 2020. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery sparked nationwide protests and placed a renewed focus on social justice. Several research efforts based in UTSA’s new College for Community, Health and Policy are lending expertise to our national conversations about systemic racism and structural reforms.
As we pick up our heads and once again look forward, there are many reasons to feel Roadrunner pride. Our university recently earned the Seal of Excelencia, a tremendous recognition of the positive momentum the university has made in its continuous efforts to become a Hispanic-thriving institution. We also have a new coach who has laid out a bold vision for Roadrunner Football and has guided our student-athletes through an unprecedented off-season.
It may feel like 2020 is the most chaotic year in memory, but I am touched by the boundless grace and relentless ingenuity that Roadrunner Nation continues to display during the most difficult times.