MAY 17, 2023 — Life is a short journey. While people can’t fight it, Nixon Maldonado knows that works of architecture can stand the test of time.
The same can be said of Maldonado’s own spirit. He is constantly curious for knowledge and wanting to share beauty despite having endured life’s most turbulent times. That has ultimately led him to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture from the UTSA Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.
Born in El Salvador, Maldonado was raised by his grandmother alongside his twin aunts. His parents came to the United States to establish a life of opportunity for their son away from the shadow of gang violence.
“It was the best thing that my parents could have done,” he said. “I appreciate them for that, because it wasn’t easy but by them making the decision and bringing me here – that is something I have no words to say how thankful I am.”
His father immigrated first to begin establishing their new lives. Four years later, his mother followed. Maldonado was eight months old. He was reunited with his parents 12 years later.
“Living in the United States is not an easy thing when we are from another country. Coming as a brand-new person, not knowing the language is hard. But education was my exit,” Maldonado said.
From Gabriela Sandoval Luna who taught him English at LEE High School, professor Dwayne Bohuslav who introduced him to human-centered design and sustainable architecture at San Antonio College to professor James Rick Lewis at the UTSA School of Architecture and Planning, Maldonado considers himself a lucky person. Everywhere he goes, he finds people willing to help push him in the right direction.
“Professor Lewis opened up the doors to this new world of research, something that I really emphasize every time I meet someone or prospective students,” Maldonado said. “UTSA is all about research.”
With Lewis’ encouragement, Maldonado applied and was accepted to an undergraduate independent research study. The opportunity granted him the experience of beautiful spaces. He traveled to Dallas to study the Perot Museum, he walked the space of the Kimbell Museum — a site he’d only seen in books — in Fort Worth and discovered the transformative power of light and dark spaces at Houston’s Menil Collection by Renzo Piano.
“Walking through the spaces made me understand how architecture has the power to make you feel something when you walk into another reality of space. It’s transformative,” expressed Maldonado. “It’s a walk in the spaces of silence and understanding light and form that really inspires me to create spaces that will uplift the human spirit.”
Maldonado’s spirit is undeniably evident in his eyes as he recalls his most memorable experiences from his time at UTSA. This month’s graduation will be among them.
When Maldonado graduated from LEE High School, he was excited. Family had traveled and they prepared for a celebration, but the tone quickly changed when they received news that his uncle was killed. The moment, meant to be celebratory and joyful, turned into a tragedy.
His graduation with an associate degree from San Antonio College took place during the height of the pandemic and was a reminder of what happened two years prior. Maldonado’s graduations up until now have been beset with moments of sadness, but this one, he says, is different. It’s the beginning of the rest of his life.
“Before I leave this world, I want to leave a legacy of goodness, of positivity. We cannot fight against time, but these works of art stand the test of time. We see it from the prehistoric times to the Greeks and the Romans. Buildings are something that will stay. They will shelter and protect you. That’s what inspires me. That’s how I think of architecture — as a place of healing, a place of safety,” Maldonado said.
Come experience a Hispanic Market with us!Rowdy Statue
We will be reading For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez. We will meet on Zoom to discuss the book. The book is free for students who request it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request the book and/or to join the Book Club and receive messages and information about this and future readings and discussions.Virtual Event
Come and practice your Spanish in a friendly and engaging environment! You will also learn about Hispanic cultures with us as we play games, watch videos, sing, and participate in many other language and cultural activities! All levels are welcome! ¡Nos vemos!Willow Room (SU 2.02.12,) Main Campus
In partnership with UTSA Libraries and the Consulado General de México en San Antonio, Carriqui will host Ven a Tomar, where guests will sample mezcal, cocktails and unique bites to celebrate UTSA's Mexican Cookbook Collection.Carriqui, 239 E Grayson St San Antonio, TX 78215
The UTSA Orchestra will be performing Rapsodia Mexicana, a captivating concert celebrating Mexican music and the confluence of cultures in South Texas. Joined by organist Colin Campbell (Texas A&M International University) and UTSA's Mariachi Los Paisanos, watch as the orchestra brings to life the essence of Hispanic culture through their powerful performances.UTSA Recital Hall, Main Campus
A fun night for UTSA students to relax and play loteria. Student Success Centers will also have recourses for students to learn more about programs and services.Denman Ballroom (SU 2.01.28,) Main Campus
Come play a game of Loteria sponsored by the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD), UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) and UTSA Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.Willow Room (SU 2.02.12,) Main Campus
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 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.