Monday, August 03, 2015

Nigerian Obi Okolo found his path by studying architecture, interior design at UTSA

Share this Story

(Dec. 10, 2013) -- Meet Obiekwe Okolo. He's eager to use his UTSA degree to serve humanity.

Okolo attributes his propensity for service to his Nigerian heritage, which puts society before the individual. The 23-year-old spent the first half of his life in his hometown of Lagos, Nigeria and the latter half in San Antonio.

Before Obi began at UTSA, he had intended to attend school for a music degree. After the hard decision to pursue something conventionally more secure, he enrolled in Professor Mark Blizard's Architecture and Culture class and instantly decided that architecture and interior design was where he wanted to be in life. That was the semester that Blizard showed him that architecture and design are, in many ways, music frozen in time.

While at UTSA, Okolo became active in the UTSA chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. He joined the organization as a sophomore and now serves on its national board as director of the south quadrant, which includes 48 chapters and approximately 1,700 students. He's proud to be a voice for students and an advocate for the profession.

In the future, he plans to further develop his Web-based philanthropic and pro-bono design-build initiative, Buildsocial, a global crowd-funding platform that allows anyone to participate in community-conscious architecture and design efforts. Anyone can donate as little as $5 toward making life-changing design solutions a reality for people who couldn't normally afford them. The project has grown much faster that he and his team ever anticipated.

"College is a constant struggle, and my UTSA professors guided and helped me in turning that struggle into success," said Okolo, who notes that architecture faculty Vincent Canizaro and Diane Hays also greatly influenced him, challenged him to succeed and encouraged him. "They were big mentors for me and helped me find that balance and were tremendous advocates while I was here."

Okolo will graduate this semester with a UTSA bachelor's degree in interior design.

---------------------------------

Do you know a fascinating UTSA student who is planning to graduate in May 2014? Share that story with us at news@utsa.edu.

 

 

Did You Know?

For acclaimed UTSA writer, poetry rhymes with life

Robert Penn Warren said: “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” That is certainly true for Carmen Tafolla. An associate professor of practice with the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, Tafolla has authored more than 20 acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including "The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." It won the Tom´s Rivera Children’s Book Award in 2009.

Tafolla is a San Antonio native who grew up on the West Side. Attending a private high school, she realized that the literature did not positively portray her community or the people who lived there. She determined to change that in her writing. In published works for both adults and children — more than 200 anthologies, magazines, journals, textbooks and readers in four languages — Tafolla reflects on the rich Mexican-American culture of San Antonio in which she grew up.

Did you know? Tafolla was San Antonio's first Poet Laureate, from 2012 to 2014, and currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Texas.

Read More »
Events
Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 6, 5 - 7 p.m.; 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

6th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

This annual symposium is an opportunity to discuss Texas higher education issues and trends with Texas higher education scholars, state and local government officials, students, and campus and local community members.
Downtown Campus

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 17, 11:30 p.m.

Midnight Light

Join President Ricardo Romo, The Spirit of San Antonio Marching Band, students, faculty and staff to light the monument at the Main Campus entrance at the stroke of midnight.
John Peace Boulevard Entrance, Main Campus

Aug. 18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Plaza

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Bill Miller Plaza for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Bill Miller Plaza, Downtown Campus

Aug. 18, 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

President's BBQ on the Lawn

Join university President Ricardo Romo on the Convocation Center lawn for his annual free BBQ lunch.
Convocation Center East Lawn, Main Campus

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


Other Calendars
» UTSA Events | » Academic | » Institute of Texan Cultures

Submit an Event


Meet a Roadrunner

UTSA student contemplates life, love in new book

Victor Cyrus, Jr will see his first book of poetry published this fall

UTSA's Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA's Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA's Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

Connect with UTSA News

       


Related Links

Back to Top