AUGUST 2, 2021 — UTSA Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar Mendez has been recognized with a Women’s Leadership Award from the San Antonio Business Journal. The accolade honors women who have inspired excellence among their peers in the industry and in the San Antonio community.
Mendez is one of 15 women recognized by the Business Journal who will be honored at a luncheon in August. At the event, one of the award recipients also will be named Woman of the Year, a special distinction that has previously been bestowed on H-E-B executive Erika Prosper-Nirenberg, CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold Williams and Valero Energy Corp. Senior Vice President Julia Rendon Reinhart.
“The award from the San Antonio Business Journal confirms what I have always known: Veronica is a fearless leader and a tireless advocate for academic success,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy, who hired Mendez in the fall of 2018. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has taken a leading role in keeping our students, faculty and staff safe, all the while continuing to work tirelessly to advance our institution’s strategic vision.”
As senior vice president for business affairs, Mendez provides oversight and stewardship of the university’s financial and operational resources, as well as leadership in the areas of real estate, urban development and strategic business initiatives. As a member of the UTSA President’s Cabinet, she works closely with leadership to advance the university’s vision to become a student success exemplar and nationally competitive research university.
In spring 2020, when the pandemic began impacting the U.S., Mendez dedicated significant time to ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty and staff. She worked with the university senior leaders on a four-phase recovery operations strategy, including protocols to enable the continuation of vital research taking place on the campus while it was still closed to visitors. She also helped secure personal protective equipment for the institution’s researchers and essential workers at a time when it was in short supply nationally.
At the same time, she continued to advance UTSA’s 10-year strategic plan to become a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence. She is part of the leadership team that is spearheading the multi-campus, multimillion-dollar campaign that will add 5.3 million square feet of space between the Main and Downtown Campuses and shape UTSA into an academic ecosystem spanning San Antonio. The project is key to the university’s 10-year visionary goals, including enrolling 45,000 students and having 2,000 faculty by 2028.
“Ensuring that the university can continue toward its mission of academic excellence is key to our commitment to the life-long success of our students and the economic prosperity of our city and state,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy, who led the national search that ultimately led to Mendez’s hiring. “Veronica has kept our student success and research programs moving forward. She also has helped us optimize the institution’s financial resources to benefit our students and support programming that promotes student success.”
“I am both honored and humbled by this award. I’ve spent nearly 20 years in academia, always with a focus on what I can do to improve the environment for those who work, live and learn on a college campus,” Mendez said. “I believe strongly in UTSA’s mission as a Hispanic Serving Institution and am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as it becomes a national model for other Hispanic serving universities.”
Mendez is a Brownsville native with deep roots to The University of Texas System. A first-generation college student, she earned her Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science in Management and M.B.A. from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, then known as the University of Texas at Brownsville.
Prior to joining UTSA, Mendez served as vice chancellor and chief financial officer at the University of California, Merced, where she made significant contributions to the Merced 2020 project, a $1.3 billion public-private project designed to add 1.2 million gross square feet to the campus footprint.
As UTSA’s chief financial officer, she oversees $2.3 billion in assets and an operating budget of $628 million for the 2021 fiscal year.
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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.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.
UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to ending generations of discrimination and inequity. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.