DECEMBER 8, 2022 — UTSA Campaign Leadership Council member and influential local philanthropist Harvey E. Najim has committed a $2 million gift to expand The Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement to the UTSA Downtown Campus. The new center expands the reach of the inaugural Najim Center, which debuted on the UTSA Main Campus in 2019 via a $3 million gift from Najim. UTSA expects that between the two campuses, the Najim Center will double its reach—from providing experiential learning opportunities to 500 students to serving over 1,000 students aspiring to be entrepreneurs and future workforce leaders.
The new Najim Center will be located in the new San Pedro II building, a $124 million development also known as the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Careers (IEC) facility. Constructed just across the San Pedro Creek from San Pedro I, which includes the School of Data Science and the National Security Collaboration Center, San Pedro II will leverage opportunities for academic programming and research collaborations.
The Najim Center’s programs offer UTSA students of any major the opportunity to gain valuable experiences that advance career success, a mission aligned with the institution’s bold vision to be a model for student success, a great public research university, and an exemplar for strategic growth and innovative excellence.
One long-term goal of the Najim Center expansion is for at least half of the students in the Carlos Alvarez College of Business to participate in the center’s programs. These opportunities provide students with a greater awareness of how classroom learning applies to the real world through experience-based learning to support their transition to life after college and into a career.
“I love helping students. My primary objective is to make sure that more of these young people get their degrees and when they do, are prepared to enter the workforce,” Najim said. “I want them to be confident in their skills when they get their first jobs. I firmly believe that this is essential to their success and, in turn, the success of San Antonio’s economic development.”
Najim founded Sirius Computer Solutions in 1980, formerly known as Star Data Systems, and now serves as chairman emeritus of the company. In 2006 he established the Harvey E. Najim Charitable Foundation. The organization supports various public charities that advance children’s education, children’s medical treatment, medical research for illnesses and diseases affecting children and other children’s charitable purposes.
Although Najim did not attend UTSA, he was so attracted by the university and its growth throughout the years that he adopted the school as his alma mater. Najim served as a Frost Lecturer at UTSA in 2016. That same year, he created the Najim Pathways Scholarship at Alamo Colleges with additional gifts to UTSA, Texas A&M University-San Antonio and UT Health San Antonio. The scholarship supports transfer students.
In 2019, Najim became a member of the Campaign Leadership Council after learning about the university’s Classroom-to-Career initiative. The initiative’s purpose—developing an integrated, campus-wide framework to identify, connect and align existing experiential learning programs and to pursue partnerships that could lead to new or expanded programs—served as great inspiration for Najim. With his own goals and passion for helping students aligned with UTSA’s vision, Najim saw the creation of his center as a natural step for him to become involved in propelling UTSA’s mission. Najim calls his collaboration with the university “a marriage made in heaven.”
“UTSA has been so privileged to partner with Harvey Najim over the years. It is incredible to see this project expand over time and now reach two of our campuses,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “We are forever grateful for his generosity and continued dedication to the training and mentorship of our students so they can become successful in their careers and in life, ultimately effecting positive change in San Antonio’s workforce.”
A key part of UTSA’s Classroom-to-Career initiative, The Najim Center brings critical experiential learning opportunities to UTSA students, enabling them to gain direct experience with issues and challenges affecting their communities and providing them with transferrable skills through high-impact programming and projects. With Najim’s latest gift, the center can further expand its innovative, career-focused programming, particularly at the intersection of business, data and computer science, and information technology that is the focus of the new San Pedro buildings.
“The Najim Center has been the centerpiece of UTSA’s Classroom to Career initiative,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “The innovative, team-based, career-focused activities and programs offered by the Center prepare students for the workforce, giving them an advantage in the job market and a head start to their bold future. I am grateful to Harvey Najim for this transformational gift that will benefit countless students and will advance UTSA as the leading public research university.”
With his recent retirement as the president of the Harvey E. Najim Family Foundation, Najim sees his involvement with UTSA increasing even further over the next several years and lasting for many to come.
“Harvey Najim has already made a tremendous impact on UTSA and our Roadrunners, preparing them to achieve greatness after graduation,” said UTSA Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement Karl Miller-Lugo. “The experiential learning opportunities the Najim Center provides are invaluable for our students. It fills me with great joy to think about how much Harvey’s contributions will continue benefitting the future leaders that UTSA is educating for our city, state and nation.”
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