JUNE 14, 2021 — The University of Texas at San Antonio today announced the selection of Teresa Niño, a senior strategist specializing in external relations, as its vice president for university relations. Reporting directly to UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, Niño will lead UTSA in building alliances with key stakeholders to further advance the university’s transformation as a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence.
Niño is a longtime San Antonian with more than three decades of proven success in government, public affairs and relations, and community relations. Her decades of experience include service in the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2017, where she led external relations components for two federal agencies. During that time, she was a member of the Senior Executive Service, the highest level of civil service before Senate confirmation is needed.
As vice president for university relations, Niño will lead UTSA’s external affairs enterprise, which encompasses university strategic communications, marketing and special projects, community relations, and government relations. Additionally, she will be responsible for the visibility, maturation and amplification of the UTSA brand.
“UTSA aspires to uplift San Antonio by becoming a model for student success and a great public research university that enables social mobility and economic prosperity — a bold vision that can only be realized with the unwavering support of our local and state communities, elected leaders and supporters across the nation,” Eighmy said. “Teresa’s keen expertise in government and community relations and her passion to make higher education more accessible to San Antonio’s underserved communities will add tremendous momentum to the important work we have underway.”
Niño has 36 years of professional experience in external relations, spanning roles in San Antonio, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Most recently, since 2018, she has served as director of electronic health records communications at University Health System — the Bexar County health system affiliated with UT Health San Antonio — during the change of management and transformation of an enterprise patient health record system.
Her career with the federal government began in 1993, when she joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs as director of its special outreach unit. In 1996, she became a deputy director in the Health Care Financing Administration (now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, or CMS) Office of Professional Relations, where she led engagement with national health and professional organizations and advocacy groups on changing health and consumer policy.
In 2009, Niño joined the CMS as director of external affairs and led the agency’s communications with health care providers. After successfully managing 10 offices, 300 employees and a $523.5 million budget for a year, she was promoted to director of external affairs and beneficiary services. She later became director of the newly created Office of Public Engagement, established to educate and train grassroots, community organizations and disenfranchised communities on the Affordable Care Act and the implementation of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
In 2013, Niño was named a senior advisor to the Office of the Administrator, where she strategically aligned external relations efforts and campaigns between the CMS, HHS and the White House. Following that, Niño was a senior advisor to the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and managed strategic communications and operations for the Offices of Citizenship, Legislative Affairs, Communications, Customer Service and Public Engagement.
In 2015, Niño joined the DHS Office of Public Affairs as a senior advisor and was a liaison to the White House for four agencies: the USCIS, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol, and the Coast Guard. From 2016 to 2017, she was executive director of the DHS’ Office of Partnership and Engagement.
Niño’s early career also includes roles in health care, economic development, state government and media. From 1997 to 2004, she led community outreach, communications, marketing, government affairs and workforce development at Port San Antonio and collaborated with UTSA to create a program to guiding displaced workers in using their skills to create small businesses.
Prior to that, she was the director of communications and legislative affairs for San Antonio’s National Trauma Institute, where she developed a comprehensive framework to advance state legislation for trauma research.
Niño has also held roles with Group W Cable of Chicago (1985), WCIU-TV in Chicago (1986-1988), Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (1990-1993) and the San Antonio Express-News (2004-2006).
“UTSA has an integral role in the success of San Antonio, and its innovative and entrepreneurial spirit makes the university a tremendous asset not only to our city, but to our region, state and nation,” Niño said. “At the same time, UTSA remains true to its roots and core mission to serve Latino students. I am honored to have the opportunity to advance this important mission in collaboration with President Eighmy and his leadership team, and to work with the university’s many partners in government, industry and the community.”
Niño earned her B.A. in communications from Columbia College in Chicago. She currently serves on the boards of the Latino Cancer Institute, Vision y Compromiso, and the San Antonio Association of Hispanic Journalists, and is a member of the Texas Lyceum, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, World Affairs Council of San Antonio, and Texas Latino Jewish Leadership Council.
She was selected as vice president for university relations following a national search conducted by Diversified Search Group and chaired by UTSA Senior Vice President for Institutional Strategic Planning, Compliance, Risk Management and Office Operations/Chief of Staff Carlos Martinez. The search committee was comprised of faculty, staff, students and local community partners.
Niño joins UTSA on July 12.
The UTSA Division of University Relations has been led by Interim VPUR Rod McSherry since May 2020. McSherry will be returning to his former role as associate vice president for innovation and economic development.
“I am grateful to Rod for stepping up to lead the University Relations division during the pandemic, economic downturn, and mostly remote operations,” Eighmy said. “He has been selfless in his commitment to lead an important university division in time of need. We are very grateful for his efforts and are glad that he can return full-time to his important economic development role in our research division.”
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