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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

In Brief

UTSA President Ricardo Romo with a large H-E-B shopping cart

Together Everything’s Better

In February, UTSA received the largest private matching gift in the university’s history. The $5 million, five-year commitment from H-E-B will support the recruitment of world-class faculty.

The H-E-B Faculty Research Excellence Fund matches other private gifts, providing a total of $10 million for endowed professorships and chairs. The endowment will enable the university to attract and recruit leading scholars and researchers through financial support for their research and teaching.

“This is a watershed moment for UTSA,” said President Ricardo Romo. “The generosity of H-E-B was the spark that ignited giving by others who saw matching gifts as a way to make their commitments even more impactful. We are deeply grateful to everyone who has contributed so meaningfully to the advancement of faculty excellence.”

The university recently renamed the University Center South as the H-E-B University Center in recognition of the gift.

UTSA Capital Campaign

Early Success

After sweeping past its initial $120 million goal more than two years early, UTSA has announced a commitment to raise an additional $55 million in its first-ever capital campaign, for a total of $175 million.

The $120 million goal in pledges and gifts was surpassed in less than one year after being publicly announced in April 2012.

To date, the campaign has supported 135 new scholarships, 26 new endowed faculty positions, and nine new research centers or institutes. Nearly 20,000 donors have contributed to the campaign, which continues through August 2015.

Interim Vice President for Research Mauli Agrawal

New Postings

Dean Mauli Agrawal is serving as interim vice president for research. Mehdi Shadaram, associate dean for student affairs and policies and holder of the Briscoe Distinguished Professorship in Electrical Engineering, is serving as the interim dean of the college.


Morale Builder

For 18 hours, there was no sitting and no sleeping. Through sunset and sunrise, there was energy, celebration and moral support for children battling cancer and their families.

UTSA’s For the Kids student organization hosted its annual celebration dance marathon April 5–6 at the Convocation Center. The marathon raised $40,445, which will go to the FTK Fund at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and will benefit children with cancer and their families.

The goal of FTK is to raise awareness while providing financial and emotional support for those affected with childhood cancer. It fundraises year-round. Students also regularly visit hospital-bound children.

“This is a great organization. For me, it is just a great way to give back to the community,” said Amanda Perez, a senior communication studies major. “I get a great sense of satisfaction in helping out those who are not able to help themselves.”

The dance marathon is a metaphoric way to show the children they have friends who will stand for them against cancer.

“FTK Dance Marathon at UTSA has an incredible team of dedicated student leaders and volunteers who work tirelessly all year long to provide comfort and support for San Antonio families struggling with childhood cancer,” said Eli Embleton, a senior in classical studies and overall chair of FTK. “Being able to bring joy to these kids and their families during such a difficult time is not only incredibly rewarding, it also gives us greater perspective and motivates us to live our own lives to the fullest.”

U.S. House of Representatives Seal

A Gift of Paper

Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez’s collection of constituent correspondence, speeches, taped interviews and other items was donated to the UTSA Libraries' Special Collections in April.

Within the donation are legislative files relating to appropriations, energy, housing, labor, transportation and Social Security. The materials will be made available to congressional scholars, students and researchers interested in examining Gonzalez’s impact during his 14 years in Congress.

UTSA Class Rings

The Newest Tradition

Students at Texas State University run their class rings through river water during their ring presentation ceremony. Tarleton State ring holders dip theirs into purple dye and Texas A&M has the famous ring dance.

In its newest tradition, UTSA class rings now spend the night at the Alamo before being presented to their owners during the formal ring ceremony.

“We believe a way to capture the hearts of future alumni is to have a unique way to personify the rings in a way no other higher educational institution could do,” said Anne Englert, director of alumni programs. “We believe having the UTSA rings sleep at the Alamo will add to UTSA’s history and will help our students appreciate the Alamo’s history even more.”

More than 12,000 alumni have a UTSA ring. And every December and May, about 400 students, family members and friends attend the traditional ring ceremony at the Convocation Center at the Main Campus. Alumni, juniors and seniors who have completed 60 credit hours are eligible for a ring.

“The Alamo is well known near and far, and I’m a part of a select group of people that can say the ring that I wear every day stayed in the Alamo overnight before it was presented to me,” said T.J. Hawley ’12. “It’s a tradition that only UTSA can have. It just gives me another reason to be proud to be a Roadrunner.”

Gerry Sanders

A New Journey

Gerry Sanders, professor of strategic management at Rice University, has been named dean and the holder of the Bodenstedt Chair for the College of Business. He will begin July 1.

A leading researcher in corporate governance, Sanders has been a faculty member at Rice University since 2008 and served as a department chair and faculty member at Brigham Young University for 12 years.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, Mary Catherine Birgeneau (wife of the chancellor), Dr. Harriett Romo (UTSA professor of sociology and wife of the president) and UTSA President Ricardo Romo.

Take a Bow

This spring, UTSA President Ricardo Romo received two honors: the 2013 Clark Kerr Award for Distinguished Leadership in Higher Education from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Wheaton College Otis Social Justice Award.

The Clark Kerr Award recognizes Romo for his success in promoting higher education and for his efforts in making UTSA a model for recently founded American universities, especially those serving minority communities.

The Otis Social Justice Award recognizes Romo for promoting social justice through education and public service.

Alexis Harris

Cover Girl

Alexis Harris, a junior anthropology major, will appear as a CoverGirl model in an upcoming issue of People magazine.

Harris, 18, was selected over 20,000 others in a national search by comedienne and television host Ellen DeGeneres. In addition to the modeling gig, the Killeen native also won a check for $20,000, part of which she plans to save. She also intends to donate a portion of the prize to charity. Harris is slated to receive her bachelor’s next May, and hopes to pursue post-graduate study.

Alumni Association Logo

Benefits of Joining the UTSA Alumni Association

  • 2 Athletic Loyalty Points (a $100 value
  • Free admission into Alumni Association tailgates (a $120 value)
  • 10% off merchandise
  • 10% off La Quinta stays nationwide
  • Discounted admission to alumni events throughout the year
  • Low-cost auto and home insurance through Liberty Mutual
  • Up to 70% off at over 3,000 golf courses at Play it Forward Golf
  • Delivery of Sombrilla Magazine to your home or office
  • Use of the UTSA Libraries
  • Discounted Alumni General Parking permit
  • Option to purchase UTSA Recreation Center membership
  • $10 off membership to the Institute of Texan Cultures


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Current Issue: Spring 2013 | Table of Contents