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UTSA hosts grand opening of San Pedro I, an epicenter for high-tech education and research

UTSA hosts grand opening of San Pedro I, an epicenter for high-tech education and research

JANUARY 9, 2023 — The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) today unveiled San Pedro I, a world-class facility that will usher in a new era of high-tech education, research and innovation in Texas. Located at 506 Dolorosa St. along the revitalized San Pedro Creek in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the $91.8 million facility will house the university’s National Security Collaboration Center and new School of Data Science, advancing economic development in the urban core and creating prosperity for San Antonians.

San Pedro I is the first project in UTSA’s phased, 10-year approach to accelerating the development of its Downtown Campus as a destination for producing highly skilled professionals in data science, data analytics and national security. The expanded capacity the facility provides will further position UTSA—a Hispanic Serving, Tier One research university—to serve San Antonio’s growing population and support the city’s future development.

“I am immensely grateful to Graham Weston, the UT System, the Board of Regents, and our City of San Antonio and Bexar County partners for their shared belief in our vision to drive workforce development, economic development and knowledge generation for San Antonio and Texas,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “We intentionally developed San Pedro I to sit in the heart of downtown San Antonio where it will attract unique government-university-industry partnerships in the fields of data science, cybersecurity and national security. This is a big day for UTSA, our region and our state.”

“San Pedro I is a powerful demonstration of the great collaboration that exists between UTSA, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.”

The UTSA School of Data Science is the only school of data science in the U.S. at a Hispanic Serving Institution. This distinction will enable the university to help diversify the nation’s current generation of data science professionals, a group that will shape the emerging data science industry in the coming decades. According to Forbes and other studies, less than 10% of data science professionals are people of color and three percent are women of color. At UTSA, 56% of master’s students overall are women and 64% are people of color.

“The San Pedro I facility will provide new opportunities to align our academic offerings across disciplines to meet and advance the needs of our San Antonio workforce, while training students to excel in our city’s high-tech jobs,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UTSA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Through collaborations with local industry partners, our students will gain valuable learning experiences and master the skills to take them from Classroom to Career. The School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center will provide unparalleled opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else in the country to San Antonians who dream of pursuing careers in high-tech industries.”

The new school, led by founding director David Mongeau, will provide data-intensive academic and research programs to inspire and prepare a generation of diverse data scientists who can make the world more equitable, informed and secure. It will initially offer five best-in-class master’s degree programs: artificial intelligence, computer science (with a data concentration), data analytics, statistics and data science, and applied statistics. The school will also host several bootcamps, certificates, seminars and workshops to help emerging and advanced professionals expand their technology skills and grow in their careers.

San Pedro I’s downtown location will enable UTSA to address San Antonio’s immediate workforce needs by connecting UTSA students to hands-on learning opportunities. These practical learning experiences will enable graduates to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, giving them a competitive edge in the job market. At the same time, pairing students with local employers gives hiring managers a first look at the talent that UTSA is producing.

“San Pedro I is a powerful demonstration of the great collaboration that exists between UTSA, the City of San Antonio and Bexar County,” said Veronica Salazar, UTSA senior vice president for business affairs and chief financial officer. “This state-of-the-art facility serves as a catalyst for advancing educational and career opportunities for UTSA students and also for transforming the core of downtown San Antonio’s tech corridor with new partnerships and prospects.”

The National Security Collaboration Center, Texas’ largest hub for government, university and industry partners in national security, advances research and innovation in forensics, visualization, cybersecurity, data analytics, post-quantum cryptography, attack and threat modeling and mitigation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and software, hardware and platform integrity. Additional areas of collaboration include training and exercise evaluation, workforce development and educational opportunities for students and the broader military community. U.S. Air Force Brigadier General (Ret.) Guy M. Walsh serves as the center’s executive director.

Several prominent industry leaders have joined the NSCC’s collaborative ecosystem of 89 partners including Peraton, CACI, CNF Technologies, CPS Energy, Dell Technologies, Leidos, Microsoft Federal and MITRE Corp. Additionally, UTSA has established federal partnership agreements with the Air Force Research Laboratory, U.S. Cyber Command, the Air Education and Training Command and the Air Combatant Command’s 16th Air Force (the merged 24th and 25th Air Forces, which specialized in cyberspace combat and military intelligence, respectively). To further strengthen the ecosystem, the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories have already executed NSCC partnership agreements with UTSA.

“The opening of this new facility is the next important step in UTSA’s emergence as a global leader in education and research in critical fields key to maintaining Texas’ and our nation’s global economic and technological leadership,” said James B. Milliken, chancellor of The University of Texas System. “This successful collaboration among higher education, government and industry is essential to meeting our state’s growing workforce demands, particularly in fields such as cybersecurity and IT.”

San Pedro I was financed by $70 million in Permanent University Funds approved by The University of Texas System Board of Regents, a $15 million gift from longtime UTSA philanthropist Graham Weston and $5 million in university funds.

“UTSA’s commitment to bring many thousands of new Roadrunners to the heart of downtown San Antonio is something to be celebrated by our entire community,” Weston said. “The promise and potential of the School of Data Science is that our city’s best and brightest young men and women can grow into the most competitive hires in the fields that will shape the future of our economy, and great companies waging the global battle for tech talent will know that the road to victory goes through San Antonio, Texas.”

Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien currently serves as the joint staff director of Command, Control, Communications, and Computers/Cyber (J6) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

“UTSA has created, through San Pedro I, an unprecedented opportunity to bring industry, academia and government equities together for adopting emerging technologies and the development of our future workforce,” said O’Brien, former 25th Air Force commander. “I look forward to continued collaboration and congratulate them in this new era of learning.”

San Pedro I is the first of two downtown facilities that will anchor UTSA to San Antonio’s prospering high-tech corridor. The university is also in the planning stages for its new $161.2 million Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Careers (IEC) building, to be known as San Pedro II, on the opposite side of the creek. Together, the two buildings will provide the expanded footprint UTSA needs to increase its efforts in innovation, entrepreneurship and career-engaged learning.

Christi Fish

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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.

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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 .

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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.