By Lorna Stafford
Development Communications Coordinator, Office of the Vice President for University Advancement
(June 3, 2009)--This Friday, June 5, marks an historic event in San Antonio. Forty years ago on this date, the city's first public four-year university was established.
The University of Texas at San Antonio was officially given the green light for creation through a bill signed by Gov. Preston Smith in 1969. The historic signing took place in front of the Alamo, where Smith signed his name to the legislation using the back of its creator, Rep. Frank Lombardino, as a writing board.
Since its inception, the university has grown and greatly contributed to the educational and economic advancements in the region. This spring alone, 2,699 students graduated from UTSA.
With 132 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and more than 28,400 students, UTSA has become the second-largest institution in the University of Texas System and is one of the fastest growing public universities in the state.
>> Starting June 5, view the University Archives' Twitter site, UTSA Yesterday, for postings of historical photos and important dates in the history of the university.
The university will officially celebrate its history Oct. 15 during the President's Scholarship and Awards Dinner at the Marriott Rivercenter hotel in San Antonio.
Another historical highlight was celebrated in May when Ricardo Romo marked his 10th anniversary as president of UTSA. Romo became the fifth president of the university in 1999. Under his leadership, there has been a tremendous increase in student enrollment, faculty hiring, research-related projects, academic programs and campus facilities.
Over the last five years, funding for research and sponsored programs has increased to more than $51 million and the university has contributed more than $1.2 billion to the state's economy.
In related news, the Texas Legislature last month gave the go-ahead for UTSA to be one of a small number of public universities to seek national research university status.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and the second largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution of access and excellence, UTSA aims to be a premier public research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
UTSA serves more than 28,400 students with 64 bachelor's, 47 master's and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.