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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

In Brief

First Lady’s First Visit to UTSA

To kick off her Reach Higher initiative, first lady Michelle Obama spoke to more than 2,000 college-bound students who gathered in UTSA’s Convocation Center as part of Destination College: Fourth Annual College Signing Day.

Donning a T-shirt from her Princeton University alma mater, Obama entered the gymnasium to a roar of cheers. She encouraged the students to commit to not only starting college but also finishing.

“Because just getting into college isn’t the ultimate goal,” she told the crowd. “You have got to stay focused once you get there, and you’ve got to get that degree or that certificate. And you’ve got to be thinking every step of the way, what comes next?”



Rowdy’s Final Roost

The six-foot-tall,1,000-pound iron roadrunner statue -- brought to campus following a $25,000 fundraising campaign -- has found its permanent home. Rowdy is now standing outside the Multidisciplinary Studies building.

Artist R.G. Box spent 1,000 hours working on UTSA’s giant roadrunner. He crafted the 11-foot-long piece in his 2,700-degree forge, including its 1,000 hand-sculpted feathers.



U.S. Army Salutes President Romo

UTSA President Ricardo Romo received the U.S. Department of the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award in September. The honor, the third highest that a private civilian can receive from the Army, recognizes the broad range of services and support that UTSA provides to military members and their families.

There are nearly 3,000 service members, veterans and their family members that UTSA serves. The university also certifies more people with military educational benefits than any other Texas four-year university.


Library Restoration Complete

Library Restoration Complete

A five-year renovation of the John Peace Library, one of UTSA’s first buildings, has brought a new gleam to many parts of the aging structure.

The process began in 2009 with the goal of updating the library to reflect the digital age, including GroupSpot, a state-of-the-art digital classroom and study space.

There’s also a new faculty center, a 125 percent increase in the number of study seats throughout the library and a total of 347 additional computers.

Erlinda’s Wish: Program provides computer classes to housekeeping staff

On a Wednesday afternoon in late September a line of UTSA housekeeping and janitorial staff formed at a computer lab in the UTSA Office of Teacher Education Services. They were ready for the first computer class of the semester. Erlinda Castillo, the woman who started it all, was among them.

A couple of years ago Castillo approached Ilna Colemere, the senior program coordinator in the office, and asked her for help. “They said we were to do time sheets in computers instead of a card swipe,” recalls Castillo, who has worked at UTSA for nearly 30 years, about that first meeting. “We were nervous because a lot of the housekeeping staff didn’t know computers. So I talked to her; I said, ‘Will you help us?’”

Colemere says it was a team effort to get the training coordinated. The first class started in 2012. Staff members participating in the training began calling it Erlinda’s Wish.

“She was very hungry to learn, and because we are in the business of education, we knew it was important to educate everyone in our midst,” Colemere says.

The classes have grown from just one student to more than 80. At the end of each year UTSA has a ceremony to celebrate their achievements -- many going from not knowing how to turn on a computer to communicating via email.

Since they began, the classes have expanded to include English-as-a-second-language skills. The housekeeping staff is allowed one hour a week to attend the classes taught by College of Education and Human Development faculty and staff.

Earlier this year Colemere won the Extra Mile Award at the UTSA University Excellence Awards ceremony for her work on the program.


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Current Issue: Fall/Winter 2014 | Table of Contents