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Dean Mario Torres advocates the can-do spirit at UTSA Day at John Jay High School

Dean Mario Torres advocates the can-do spirit at UTSA Day at John Jay High School

FEBRUARY 18, 2022 — Mario Torres ’95, dean of the UTSA College of Education and Human Development, took a literal walk down memory lane on Thursday, February 17, visiting his high school alma mater John Jay for a special event held in his honor.

Proclaiming the day as UTSA Day, John Jay High School Principal and UTSA alumna Teresa Cuellar Hernandez ’96, staff and students provided a warm homecoming for Torres.

Their event was filled with musical performances by students, guest speakers and a parade through the halls of the school. Led by the John Jay drumline, cheerleaders and pom squads, students lined the route, waving and cheering as Torres walked by.


Cheerleaders greeted university representatives at John Jay High School for UTSA Day on Thursday, February 17.


“What a great opportunity to bring someone here who has walked these halls, and knows what these kids are going through, and to show our kids ‘yes you can,’” Hernandez said. “It was an honor to celebrate with him.”

Torres, who is also a UTSA alumnus, attributes his passion for education to his parents, whom he refers to as his support system, and the education he received at both institutions.


Mario Torres (right), UTSA alumnus and dean of the College of Education and Human Development, posed for a photo with Teresa Cuellar Hernandez (left), UTSA alumna and John Jay principal.


“I recite this affirmation: I’m going to do everything possible to help children in underserved, underrepresented communities to make sure that they get access to high quality education,” Torres said. “The message I want to emphasize is that there are going to be times when life is going to be extremely challenging, but it’s important that these students advocate for themselves and it’s important that they have a strong support system to help get them through it.”

The event included special remarks from UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy and Northside Independent School District Superintendent and UTSA alumnus Brian T. Woods ’98, ’12. Torres and guests were treated to musical performances by the John Jay/Science & Engineering Academy high school choir, the Jones Middle School Choir, John Jay’s Mariachi Jalisco group and the school’s Mighty Mustang Band. Students from Mary Hull Elementary recited the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas Pledge in both English and Spanish.


John Jay’s Mariachi Jalisco group performed at the event.


“It was a very special homecoming. I feel honored and humbled,” Torres said. “I felt that throughout my life, one day I would return and try to make a difference in my community.”

UTSA is an urban serving, Tier One research institution that puts students first by cultivating an environment that focuses on their success. As a next-generation, Hispanic thriving, multicultural university where students from all backgrounds can excel, UTSA serves as a prosperity engine, graduating the world-engaged civic leaders of tomorrow.


During the event, Torres was given the opportunity to conduct the school’s Mighty Mustang Band.


The UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) is one of the leading providers of educators, clinicians, and practitioners in the San Antonio area and has one of the largest teacher certification programs in Texas. The college also boasts three accredited/verified licensure and certification programs including school counseling, clinical mental health counseling, school psychology and behavior analysis. COEHD is responsible for innovative research and grants in STEM education, urban educational outcomes, bi-national and bicultural issues, applied behavior analysis, integrated behavioral healthcare, special education, behavioral analysis, PK-12 school administration, higher education administration and diversity pipelines.

Libby Castillo



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu.


UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


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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.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

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 promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.