Thursday, October 6, 2022

UTSA celebrates Be Bold campaign with university community, donors, alumni

UTSA celebrates Be Bold campaign with university community, donors, alumni


OCTOBER 6, 2022 — UTSA is celebrating Be Bold: A Campaign for Our Future, a $500 million fundraising campaign to advance the university’s work and impact in student success, research and strategic growth. The largest campaign in the university’s history, Be Bold will directly support UTSA’s strategic vision.

UTSA President Taylor Eighmy and other senior leaders will celebrate the campaign today with faculty, staff, donors and alumni. To kick off the festivities, President Eighmy will host two events on the Main and Downtown Campuses.

The events will highlight the campaign’s impact and include special guest speakers. All faculty and staff are invited to join the events, scheduled at 9 a.m. on Thursday, October 6 at the H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104) on the Main Campus and at 11:30 a.m. in the Durango Building La Villita Room (DB 1.116) on the Downtown Campus.

“UTSA has shown the nation that Roadrunners persevere to achieve excellence. The tremendous support of our alumni and donors is a testament to their belief in our mission.”

“Celebrating this historic milestone among faculty and staff, and the university’s valued donors fills me with pride,” said Karl Miller-Lugo, vice president for advancement and alumni engagement. “UTSA has shown the nation that Roadrunners persevere to achieve excellence. The tremendous support of our alumni and donors is a testament to their belief in our mission.”

Philanthropy transforms the way UTSA faculty and staff can teach and support the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, and industry and community leaders.

Jenny Hsieh, the Semmes Foundation Distinguished Chair in Cell Biology and director of the UTSA Brain Health Consortium, has dedicated her life's work to understanding, at the cellular level, the genetic and epigenetic causes of neurodegenerative diseases so that researchers can develop targeted therapeutics for treating and curing these conditions.

“With my endowment, we are able to purchase cutting-edge technology that is shared and enhances research across the Brain Health Consortium,” Hsieh said. “To maintain R1 designation, we have to be able to continue to recruit outstanding faculty at all levels. Endowed chairs help us attract and retain the best at UTSA.”

As a professional committed to equity and inclusion, Rhonda BeLue was thrilled to join UTSA’s newest college to develop relationships within the San Antonio community. BeLue serves as the Lutcher Brown Endowed Distinguished Professor in the UTSA Department of Public Health and is the first associate dean for Community Engagement and Partnerships in the College for Health, Community and Policy.

“I really believe in training the next generation and creating future leaders, and my endowment has allowed me to do this by giving me the ability to hire students. This is some of my most important work,” BeLue said.

This evening, donors and alumni will gather in the heart of downtown San Antonio at a campaign kick-off event to celebrate UTSA’s milestone moments, achievements made possible through the support of thousands of donors.

Since 2017, UTSA’s capital campaign has been in what is known as a ‘silent phase,’ during which the university has received initial gifts and pledges to advance its strategic priorities. The Campaign Leadership Council, comprised of key influencers across San Antonio, has worked alongside UTSA’s leadership to provide philanthropic advocacy. This group represents some of the university’s most loyal donors and advises UTSA on impactful fundraising opportunities in concert with the UTSA Division of Advancement and Alumni Engagement.

For many of UTSA’s supporters, student success remains a top priority. The support of the university’s donors has opened doors for countless students to focus on their academic journey without the burden of financial stress.

UTSA Spirit of the Roadrunner Erica McFarland is a McNair Scholar and a Jane Findling Award recipient studying public health in the College for Health, Community and Policy. With a passion for improving the health and well-being of others, she dedicates much of her free time to volunteering and assuming leadership roles that augment her classroom experience.

“Scholarships in the UTSA community are so incredibly important. They provide us with essential support, not just financially but also emotionally and mentally,” McFarland said. “With the support I’ve been given, I have been able to conduct extensive research on personal development and growth for the past three years and have seen an exceptional improvement in my own mental health and well-being.”

Roadrunners Football quarterback Frank Harris ’21 earned his undergraduate degree in sociology at UTSA and is now earning his Master’s in Public Administration. He has been playing football since the age of five and has dedicated the majority of his life to the sport. His achievements and drive led him to receive a UTSA athletics scholarship, partially funded by the Roadrunner Athletic Fund.

“I love my experience here as an athlete and the incredible sense of camaraderie among our fan base in San Antonio. I know many people that wouldn’t be in college if it weren’t for the scholarships. I, myself, would not be able to dedicate enough time to football to be able to play.” Harris said. “Receiving a scholarship provides an opportunity that will affect the rest of our lives. These degrees that I am receiving are going to be useful forever, even after I retire from football.”

Student scholarship support continues to be life-changing for many Roadrunners, including Hafsa Ali ’18 who moved with her family from Pakistan to Queens, New York in pursuit of the American dream. Her father supported their family as a cab driver. After a decade, her father moved the family to San Antonio and Ali stayed close for college. Now pursuing her M.B.A. with support from a UTSA Alumni Association Scholarship, she’ll complete her graduate degree and pursue a full-time job as a product manager with a renowned international technology company in New York City.

“I was really lucky to receive a scholarship. I thought I might have to keep my job on the side of classes,” Ali said. “Getting into graduate school, I knew it was my second opportunity to finally do what I wanted. The opportunities I got from UTSA are the reason that I'll be where I want to be in my life and that I'll be able to change the trajectory of my family's life – because it's not just about me. It's my little brother. It's my future kids. They now get to see me go from an immigrant child with no direction to a college graduate with my dream job.”

The UTSA Office of the Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement is leading the Be Bold campaign, under the direction of Miller-Lugo. 

“It is a privilege to lead the Division of Advancement and Alumni Engagement during one of the most exciting times in the history of UTSA. We are focused on increasing public and private giving through positive relationships with alumni, corporations and friends to position UTSA as a great public research university and a national model for student success,” Miller-Lugo said. “I am so proud of the impactful work of our students, faculty and staff as well as the incredible support of our cherished UTSA alumni, donors and friends. It is truly a great time to be a Roadrunner.”

Jennilee Garza

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

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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 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.