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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Honors for Outreach

Community Service: A string of accolades for UTSA's efforts builds momentum toward Tier One goal

To kick off the university's 11th annual United to Serve event, students gathered in the H-E-B University Center ballroom, listening to music, joking around and enjoying free food, while awaiting special guests. San Antonio officials Ron Nirenberg and Ivy Taylor were arriving on that Friday afternoon in April to present citations from the city to recognize UTSA's commitment to volunteering and community service.

"I want to say how inspiring your service is," Nirenberg said at the ceremony. "What you do is an example for every San Antonian."

In total, 348 students volunteered 1,557 hours as part of the event.

Only a few months earlier the university was named to the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the fifth consecutive year.

It's these types of efforts that helped garner UTSA the prestigious Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching this year. The honor acknowledges the university's "dynamic and noteworthy" community outreach efforts in San Antonio and its impact on the global community through teaching and research, public service, volunteerism, civic partnerships and economic development.

"The Carnegie designation speaks to our commitment to community outreach and our drive to make a difference in the lives of our students and our community," says UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "It is a remarkable milestone for the university and another advancement in our journey to Tier One recognition."

That commitment to service has grown even stronger with the launch of the university's Center for Civic Engagement in late 2014. The center serves as a nucleus of support to students, faculty and staff who aspire to advance the common good of San Antonio and surrounding communities.

"We are an engaged university," says Jude Valdez, vice president for community services. "It is part of our DNA. Since UTSA was first established, we have been deeply connected to our region and our community."

UTSA is among 83 U.S. universities to receive the Carnegie designation for the first time and among an elite group of only 361 campuses to gain the designation. There are more than 4,700 colleges and universities in the U.S.

The foundation awarded the designation based on a universitywide evaluation that documented UTSA's extensive community engagement efforts, including its $1.2 billion annual impact on the local economy; support of almost 16,000 jobs; public service and volunteer programs; leadership in area public schools; and outreach to Hispanic, military and underserved communities.


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