October, 2010Today, Ricardo Romo, president of The University of Texas at San Antonio, addressed students, faculty, staff, elected officials and invited guests assembled in the Main Campus Ballroom for his second annual State of the University address. The 45-minute address detailed UTSA’s momentum over the last 12 months toward fulfilling its vision to become a Tier One national research university. Romo was introduced by Bexar County’s Rep. Joaquin Castro, a San Antonio native and vice chairman of the House Higher Education Committee.
Romo spoke of his pride for UTSA’s teaching faculty and touted their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to the students in advancing their knowledge of the world and their chosen professional field. “This year we were fortunate to have nine UTSA faculty members selected to receive the prestigious UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award,” said Romo. “After UT Austin, that is more than any other school in the UT System.”
Additionally, Romo pointed out accomplishments within the ranks of research faculty and the university’s commitment to continue recruiting the best and brightest and to build the infrastructure it takes to do groundbreaking research. He also mentioned the 34 percent increase in total research spending over the previous fiscal year. “Late last fall, we announced $46 million in research spending, up from the previous year’s figure of $34 million,” said Romo. “And, what is even more significant is when you look at our progress over five years, we essentially doubled our research expenditures. This is incredible momentum.”
New collaborations with multiple private and public partners were addressed, in particular the 10-year, $50 million agreement between The UTSA Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute and CPS Energy which will help to propel San Antonio as a national leader in green technology research.
“During the last fiscal year, UTSA raised more private dollars than ever before,” said Romo, who thanked members of the university’s Development Board along with visionary friends and alumni who are giving to help UTSA become a world-class university for world-class students.
“Both the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund and AT&T supported our faculty research this past year, Valero Energy is helping us recruit graduate students and one alumni couple, Jim and Cathy Bodenstedt, provided $1 million for Roadrunner Football. Now, that is what I call momentum.”
The grandest announcement in the speech, however, was when President Romo posthumously recognized Mary E. McKinney and announced receipt of the largest single private gift in university history, a $22 million estate gift to provide financial aid, including full-ride scholarships, to students working to complete their degrees.
“Some of the most transformational gifts begin modestly, with the simple intent to make a difference,” said Romo. “Miss McKinney, an accomplished woman with a masters degree, took some classes here in the 90s and after seeing how finances often impede students from continuing their education, she set up a modest scholarship in her parents’ name. What we were not aware of, is that Miss McKinney had plans for it to continue after she had passed.”
The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and one of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
UTSA serves more than 30,300 students in 65 bachelor’s, 49 master’s and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond. More information online at www.utsa.edu/today.