Monday, August 31, 2015

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

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(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.

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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?

Football standouts make Roadrunner history

For Ashaad Mabry and Triston Wade, football is not just a passing fancy. Both players were part of the UTSA football program almost from the beginning. When UTSA opens the 2015 season Thursday at Arizona, it will be the first time the Roadrunners take the field without them. But Mabry and Wade will still be playing football; their uniforms will just be a different color.

Mabry, a defensive tackle from San Antonio's MacArthur High School, was an honorable mention All-Conference USA selection his final two seasons as a Roadrunner and second among the team's defensive linemen with 49 tackles last year. Wade, a defensive back from Tyler, was the most decorated player in school history. He was a semifinalist for the 2014 Jim Thorpe Award – for the nation's top defensive back – a three-time all-conference honoree and two-year team captain who set a school record of 293 tackles in his career. Both men had outstanding college careers that allowed them to make UTSA history.

Did you know? Mabry and Wade both agreed to terms as undrafted free agents with the New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks, respectively, becoming the first UTSA players to move to the professional ranks.

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Sept. 12, 11 a.m.

UTSA Football vs. Kansas State

Cheer on the UTSA Roadrunners at their home-opener against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Alamodome, 100 Montana St.

Sept. 15, 5:30 - 7 p.m.

Changing the Conversation: Recovery Works!

As part of National Recovery Month, a panel of substance abuse practitioners and members of the recovery community will discuss issues related to substance abuse treatment and recovery.
Durango Building 1.124 (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Sept. 24, 6 p.m.

The Power of Story in the Landscape of Memory and Identity

The UTSA College of Education and Human Development will host award-winning children’s author and illustrator Yuyi Morales. Morales will share personal stories that have influenced her work as an author and illustrator.
Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328), Downtown Campus


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Love of theater, history leads Lee grad to pursue anthropology degree

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