|Motto||Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis
Motto in English
|A cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy|
|Established||June 5, 1969|
|University of Texas System
|President||Thomas Taylor Eighmy|
|1,264 (2017 Fall)|
|2,739 (2017 Fall)|
|Students||30,674 (2017 Fall)|
|Undergraduates||26,011 (2017 Fall)|
|Postgraduates||4,663 (2017 Fall)|
|Location||San Antonio, Texas, United States
|Campus||Main: Suburban, 725 acres
Downtown: Urban, 18 acres
Hemisfair : Urban, 4 acres
|Colors||Blue & Orange
|NCAA Division I - Conference USA|
The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is a state research university in San Antonio, Texas, United States. With nearly 31,000 students, it is the largest university in San Antonio and the eighth-largest (2014) in the state of Texas. It includes three campuses across the San Antonio metropolitan area that span 725 acres of land. UTSA offers a wide array of academic studies, with 67 bachelor's, 69 master's and 24 doctoral programs. In 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, it was selected by Times Higher Education as one of the best universities in the world under 50 years old.
UTSA is a member of the Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of the nation's major doctorate-level universities dedicated to collaboration and scientific advancement. It is an institutional member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, recognizing its influence and role as a Hispanic-serving institution. UTSA is also a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, an organization of public institutions that seek to both offer educational excellence and opportunities to historically under-served populations.
Established in 1969, UTSA has evolved to become the third largest institution within the UT System by enrollment. Through an aggressive expansion of its research productivity, the university's restricted research expenditures have grown from US $36.4 million in FY16 to US $40.1 million in FY17. Similarly, total research expenditures increased from US $56.8 million in FY16 to US $68.1 million in FY17.
Identified as one of Texas' six emerging research universities, UTSA is striving toward full National Research University Fund eligibility, having consistently achieved the criteria for freshman class of high academic achievement.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is a part of the larger vision of "The University of Texas," as enumerated in the Texas Constitution. The University of Texas came into being in 1876, when the state constitution was adopted. Article VII articulated a vision for the university to the legislature:
"The Legislature shall as soon as practicable, establish, organize, and provide for the maintenance, support, and direction of a university of the first class, to be located by a vote of the people of this State, and styled "The University of Texas."
Until 1967, the Austin institution was the sole university stylized as "The University of Texas". It was during this year's legislative session that the UT System was given uniform designations based upon each institution's respective location. Two years later, San Antonio (one of the largest cities at the time without a public university) was finally granted its own institution in The University of Texas System.
The University of Texas at San Antonio was officially founded on June 5, 1969 by the 61st Texas Legislature as H.B. 42 and signed into law by Governor Preston Smith. Frank Lombardino, a conservative Democrat who represented northwest Bexar County in the state legislature, was known as the "father of UTSA" due to his impassioned advocacy for the institution. When Governor Smith signed the bill officially establishing the university, he did so on the back of Lombardino in a grand ceremony in front of the Alamo. At the university's inaugural commencement, the first diploma was also signed on Lombardino's back.
In 1970, the University of Texas Board of Regents appointed the university's first president, Arleigh B. Templeton, who served from 1970 to 1972, and received a land donation of 600 acres (2.4 km2) in far northwest San Antonio for the site of UTSA. Architects Ford, Powell and Carson Inc. was assigned to design a master plan for the university. O'Neil Ford, the designer of both the Tower of the Americas and the Trinity University tower, designed the campus to be reminiscent of an Italian village.
The 671 graduate students composing the first class at the university were admitted in September 1973. Upperclassmen and lowerclassmen were admitted in 1975 and 1976, respectively. Students temporarily attended class at the Koger Center, which also housed administrative offices until 1975, when construction on the Main Campus was completed. Enrollment during this time numbered 4,433 students. UTSA began with five colleges: Business, Fine and Applied Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Multidisciplinary Studies and Science and Mathematics.
By 1975, the university's future colors were being openly discussed among student leaders and the administration. Eventually, UTSA's third color of blue was selected, beating out other proposed colors such as "fiesta red" and "cactus green".The John Peace Library opened the next year, serving as the new administrative headquarters for the university. The discussion of a university mascot soon followed the selection of school colors. In the fall of 1977 an election was held to determine the school's mascot, with "the armadillos" and "the stars" taking the top two spots. However, the referendum was declared void by the student government and a new election was held with nine candidates and a write-in option. The top two choices from the second election, the roadrunner and the armadillo, campaigned in a competitive run-off. On December 9, 1977 the roadrunner was announced as UTSA's first and only mascot.
James W. Wagener, a graduate of Southern Methodist University and former acting-dean of the University of Texas Health Science Center, was selected to be UTSA's third president in 1978. The Alumni Association was formed that same year, providing a new avenue of support for the university. The first ever Fiesta UTSA was also held in April 1978, with multiple bands playing throughout the day and culminating in a school dance. At the end of the 1970s, enrollment numbered 9,400 undergraduate and graduate students.
The Paisano, the university's award-winning newspaper, was established in 1981 as the first independent student publication in the state. During the fall of that year, the university began playing collegiate athletics. It was immediately elected to Division I status in the NCAA. The Student Representative Assembly headed the burial of a time capsule in 1983, the university's 10th anniversary, instructing it to be opened on June 5, 2023.
In 1986, UTSA acquired the Institute of Texan Cultures, a center for multicultural education in the state, as a campus. During this year, both the University Center and Chisholm Hall, the university's first on-campus housing complex, opened.
On the first day of fall classes in 1996, a campus shooter stormed into the John Peace Library. The perpetrator, Gregory Tidwell, murdered head of cataloging Stephen L. Sorensen before fatally shooting himself in the chest.
The University Center grew significantly in the late 1990s, breaking ground on its newest expansion in 1995. This new 97,500-square foot, $13.2 million building, dubbed "UC Phase II", included the new Retama Auditorium and UTSA Bookstore. The Downtown Campus opened the doors to its permanent location on Interstate Highway 10 and Cesar Chavez Blvd. (then Durango Blvd.) in 1997.
Ricardo Romo, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and UCLA, became UTSA's fifth president in May 1999. He began with the ambitious agenda of aggressively expanding UTSA, both physically and academically, laying out the university's "Roadmap to Excellence". During his tenure, UTSA would grow 68% in student enrollment and add numerous new programs and facilities.
In the mid-2000s decade, UTSA embarked on a long-term campaign to dramatically increase its national prestige and selectivity. A "Master Plan" was created in 2007 as a guide for this campaign and to direct the future physical growth of the institution. The "UTSA 2016" strategic plan, formulated at the same time, is guided by the Master Plan and forms the basis for the development of the university into a "premier research institution" by 2016.John T. Montford--a San Antonio businessman, former chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, and a member of the Texas State Senate from 1983 to 1996--eventually established the UTSA Presidents Dinner and, in 2007, the event raised US$4.6 million.
The first-time undergraduate acceptance rate, a common measurement for institutional selectivity, essentially hovered around 99% prior to 2006. In 2006 that number fell to 91%, eventually lowering to an estimated 60% as of 2013. The Fall 2012 acceptance rate was 73.3%.U.S. News & World Report now ranks UTSA's admissions process as "selective". In 2010, the university hit a population benchmark of 30,000 students, signifying a growth rate of more than 39% over the past decade. UTSA was one of the fastest growing universities in Texas during this decade.
In 2011, the university fielded its long-anticipated football team as an NCAA FCS independent, with Larry Coker as the inaugural head coach. As of 2012, it had 63 undergraduate programs, 51 master's programs and 24 doctoral programs within its eight colleges. Today the university has nearly 119,000 alumni, 17 athletic sports, and more than 1200 tenured and tenure-track faculty.
UTSA is also the city's sole NCAA Division I university, becoming a member of the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 and moving on to Conference USA in 2013. An athletic complex is being constructed slightly west of the main campus and will feature pedestrian-friendly mixed-use areas. The complex, dubbed "Park West", adds another 125 acres to the university's property.
UTSA has become a nationally ranked research university with nearly 31,000 students and for fiscal year 2017, the university delegated US$68.1 million toward research expenditures. A stated goal of the UTSA Master Plan is the enhancement of the university's research infrastructure.
A three-year partnership between UTSA and Microsoft was announced in April 2014. The purpose of the arrangement is the research and development of sustainable technologies to increase the energy efficiency and economic viability of data centers.
Ricardo Romo, who had served as president since 1999, resigned on March 3, 2017, after having been placed on administrative leave. Pedro Reyes served as interim president from February through August 2017.
In September 2017, Thomas Taylor Eighmy (born September 1956), the vice chancellor for research and engagement at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, began serving as UTSA's sixth president.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is composed of nine colleges: the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning; the College of Business; the College of Education and Human Development; the College of Engineering; the Honors College; the College of Liberal and Fine Arts; the College of Public Policy; the College of Sciences and University College. All programs are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the UTSA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
More than 50 percent of Honors College graduates have been accepted into postgraduate universities and medical and professional schools.
The College of Sciences collaborates with other leading research institutions such as Southwest Research Institute, Texas Biomedical Research Institute and UT Health-San Antonio. Since 2005, UTSA and Southwest Research Institute have maintained a joint doctoral program focusing on space physics. The university generates more than $1.2 billion in annual business revenue in San Antonio and directly employs more than 4,000 people.
As of 2017, UTSA has a 22% four year graduation rate for its students earning bachelor's degrees. The Coordinated Admission Program (CAP), a program offered to some freshmen to transfer to the University of Texas at Austin after a year at UTSA, has a large adverse effect on this. ear. UTSA plans to phase out the CAP program in the next ten years to focus on students seeking degrees at the university.
|U.S. News & World Report||231-300|
|U.S. News & World Report||448|
UTSA has been rated one of the top 400 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.U.S. News and World Report ranks UTSA among its national universities, meaning it is committed to producing groundbreaking research with a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs. However it is ranked in the second tier, which is below the majority of those that have received the distinction. As of 2017, UTSA is recognized as one of the top four young universities in the nation and 68th in the world by Times Higher Education.
Webometrics University Rankings, which grades universities based on their presence on the Internet, ranks the university 144th in the nation and 455th in the world. The College of Architecture, Construction and Planning ranks second in the nation in awarding degrees to Hispanic students, according to Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education.
In 2011, the Center for College Affordability and Productivity ranked UTSA's freshman as the second most "unhappy" in the country, based solely on low retention rates. Associate Vice President David Gabler refuted this claim, telling 1200 WOAI the survey is completely "bogus". The members of Student Government Association responded by sponsoring a resolution rebuking the claims, pointing out the Coordinated Admissions Program skews freshmen retention rates. As of 2011, roughly 30% of CAP students do not return to the university for their second year.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a "High Research Activity" university. The school reached a new record of $56.8 million for research expenditures in fiscal year 2017.
UTSA operated the Center for Archaeological Research, which in 1984 did a study of the former Hot Wells hotel, spa and bathhouse on the San Antonio River in the southside of San Antonio. The survey determined all which remained of the resort were remnants of the 1902 hotel building, bathhouse ruins, and stones of a small nearby building. In 2015, work was authorized by the Bexar County Commissioners Court to begin restoring Hot Wells.
A 2007 study released by Academic Analytics showed UTSA was ranked fifth among other large research universities in the state of Texas for faculty scholarly productivity. The Office of the Vice President for Research publishes "Discovery", an annual magazine dedicated to highlighting the research, academic and creative achievements of the UTSA community. First printed in 2007, the publication is a member of the University Research Magazine Association, an organization that promotes excellence among the scholarly publications of universities.
In 2013, the University of Texas at San Antonio established Facilitated Acceptance to Medical Education (FAME), an accelerated medical program to rising high school seniors. Accepted students, after completing a three-year undergraduate education at UTSA, matriculate to UT Health-San Antonio.
Proposition 4 was passed by Texas voters in November 2009. This piece of legislation named 7 emerging research universities in Texas that could compete for additional state funds in an effort to increase the number of Tier One institutions in Texas. Factors such as research expenditures, graduate degrees awarded and scholarly productivity all play a part in which schools receive the most funding.
From 2006 to 2009, UTSA completed over $250 million in construction projects. The university underwent extensive remodeling in 2009, renovating older buildings such as the JPL, HSS (now the MH) and MS. The North Paseo Building, a $15 million office building, began housing ROTC operations when it opened in October 2011. A new ceramics studio broke ground in 2009 and two adjacent science buildings underwent $24 million in renovations. The $83 million Applied Engineering and Technology building (AET) also opened its doors in 2009. The Bauerle Road Garage, a 5-level parking facility with office space, opened in 2012. Dining services also expanded in 2008, continuing through 2011. Completed projects included three Starbucks locations, a Panda Express, Subway, Taco Taco, Mooyah, and a Chili's Too. Other services on campus include a hair salon, technology store, UPS store and a bank.
The Main Campus, the oldest and largest of the three, was born out of a 600-acre donation to the University of Texas Board of Regents. It proved to be so controversially remote to the city (at the time) that many San Antonians nicknamed it "University of Texas at Boerne" or "UT Boerne". The Main Campus opened its doors in 1975. Prior to that, classes were held at the Koger Center at Babcock Road and Loop 410. Roadrunner Cafe, the university's first dining hall, was erected in 2005. In 2006, UTSA acquired a 125-acre swath of land on Hausman Road to build its future athletics complex. Named "Park West", the site brings the Main Campus up to 725 acres in total. Up until 2009 it was known as the "1604 Campus", at which point it was renamed the "Main Campus" so as to better reflect its importance within the university and community as a whole. Students can live at one of the campus' five housing complexes: Chisholm Hall, Alvarez Hall, Laurel Village, Chaparral Village and University Oaks. The UTSA Master Plan, the university's structural plan for the future, focuses on developing the Main Campus in several key areas. Its plans for the campus include the expansion of academic facilities, major growth in on-campus amenities, implementing a long-term strategy for parking and the establishment of a college town.
The Downtown Campus in Downtown San Antonio houses the College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, College of Public Policy, part of the College of Education and Human Development and many of the university's community outreach centers and institutes including the Texas State Data Center. In early 1993, the demolition of Fiesta Plaza made way for what would become the Downtown Campus. While construction was underway, the campus made its temporary home at Cypress Tower on Main Street, offering its first classes in January 1994. Its permanent location on I-10 and Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard (formerly Durango Boulevard) was completed in 1997. Today, the Downtown Campus is composed of four buildings, a 18,138 square foot library and parking for over 2,200 vehicles all in over 18 acres of space. A new bus-rapid transit line, VIA Primo, opened in late 2012. Together with a VIA Express route, allows students to quickly commute between the UTSA Main Campus and the Downtown Campus. The Master Plan states some of goals for the Downtown Campus include the expansion of on-campus amenities, the reinforcement of the campus' identity and the growth of civic spaces.
The Hemisfair Campus, also in Downtown San Antonio, stands as the third branch of UTSA, holding the 182,000 square-foot Institute of Texan Cultures. It hosts the Texas Folklife Festival, an annual event celebrating the various cultures of Texas and their roles in the multicultural state. The ITC (as it is commonly known) was originally built as a $10 million project for HemisFair '68, with the stated goal of promoting awareness of the history and ethnic diversity of Texas. It was turned over to the University of Texas System after the conclusion of the world's fair, being designated as a campus of UTSA in 1986. It serves as a valuable asset for historical research, housing both UTSA's archives and an impressive historic photography collection with over 3,000,000 images. The ITC formalized an agreement with the Smithsonian Institution in 2010 to obtain affiliate status. As an affiliate of the Smithsonian, the institute has access to much of its vast resources, such as workshops, speakers and programs. Funding for the ITC primarily comes from legislative appropriations, event admissions fees, grants and contributions. The City of San Antonio is currently developing a long-term strategic plan for Hemisfair Park, and the university is still considering multiple options for its own vision of the facility. As UTSA continues to grow and expand, the institute will develop alongside it as a nationally recognized research institution of equal caliber.
UTSA is San Antonio's only NCAA Division I FBS institution and is currently a member of Conference USA. The Roadrunners compete in 17 intercollegiate sports including baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball. The university has hosted 17 NCAA Division I Championships since 1997 including three men's Final Fours, two women's Final Fours and a pair of women's Volleyball Championships. UTSA has captured more than 70 conference championships and has made more than 50 NCAA postseason appearances.
UTSA's main rival is the Texas State University Bobcats. The two universities play each other in a series known as the I-35 Rivalry. Separated by about 50 miles (~80 km), both schools have been conference rivals since 1991, first in the Southland Conference and then in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). UTSA and Texas State are now in different conferences, with UTSA in Conference USA (C-USA) and Texas State in the Sun Belt Conference. UTSA is one of four Texas schools in C-USA, along with the North Texas Mean Green, the Rice Owls and the UTEP Miners. The leadership of both universities have stated their interest in preserving the football rivalry, even as the institutions are in different conferences.
Football has always been a great topic of conversation in the UTSA community since the university's very beginning. In a 1971 article famously titled "UTSA will not have football", president Arleigh Templeton dismissed the idea of the university acquiring a football team, stating "When we do begin playing football we will be playing the best competition available." A 2007 student referendum doubled the university's athletics fee, effectively paving the way for the program's arrival in the fall of 2011.
The football team plays its home games in the 65,000-seat Alamodome in Downtown San Antonio. The university won its first football game against Northeastern State University on September 3, 2011 at its home field, the Alamodome. With 56,743 in attendance, UTSA set the NCAA's record for the highest-attended inaugural game for a start-up program. The Roadrunners also broke the attendance record for an inaugural season, averaging 35,521 per game. UTSA lead the WAC in attendance for the 2012 season. The Roadrunners now compete in Conference USA, alongside fellow former WAC member Louisiana Tech. The UTSA administration was very supportive of the move, with then-President Ricardo Romo noting the conference will fit the Roadrunners well.
The home of the UTSA basketball and volleyball teams is the Convocation Center, a multipurpose arena with more than 4000 seats at the UTSA Main Campus.
The Park West Athletics Complex opened in 2013 as the home of the soccer and track & field programs. The baseball, softball and tennis teams all play at on-campus facilities.
With the addition of more on-campus housing in recent years, campus life at UTSA has evolved to become much more active. Before football and basketball games, tailgate parties and body painting in the school's colors are common. There are many traditions as well, including Best Fest and Fiesta UTSA, where student organizations raise funds while providing entertainment and food to the student body.
UTSA offers an array of selections for on-campus housing:
At the heart of student life are 350 student organizations that represent a diverse array of interests on campus. Among the most prominent of groups are the sponsored organizations that receive funding from the University Student Services fee. These sponsored student organizations are the only RSOs (Registered Student Organizations) that may use "UTSA" in their name.
Beaks Up Speak Up is an organization supported by the UTSA Office of Student Activities, that educates the student body on issues related to being an active bystander. The organization facilitates a culture of care for all members of the UTSA community to RECOGNIZE potential harm, CHOOSE to respond, and to ACT in a way that would help positively influence the outcome for other people. The group facilitates workshops on a variety of topics that impact the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of others, assists campus partners with resources that would aid in successfully reducing risk through their programming, and teaches marketable skills to students.
The Campus Activities Board (CAB) is the largest student program board on campus. It serves to foster traditions and community at the university by coordinating large-scale events such as Best Fest, Fiesta UTSA and various homecoming functions.
Student Government Association (SGA) is the official voice of the university's student body. Its officers and committees reflect that of the United States federal government, utilizing a three-branch system.Student Government hosts the University Life Awards, a large celebration in the Ballroom that recognizes excellence in leadership throughout the campus. All students are considered members of SGA, due to both the fact its activities are subsidized through the Student Services Fee and it represents the views of the entire student body.
The College Democrats and College Republicans at UTSA both date back to the late 1970s. The two organizations have brought notable public officials to campus such as Bill White, Congressman Joaquin Castro, Congressman Pete Gallego, Judge Juanita Vasquez-Gardener, State Senator Joe J. Bernal, Councilman John Clamp, and Senator Bob Krueger.
About 4% of both undergraduate men and women are members of fraternities and sororities.Greek life at UTSA is directed by the four governing bodies: the Panhellenic Council (6 chapters), the Interfraternity Council (11 chapters), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (7 chapters), and the Multicultural Greek Council (7 chapters). Greek life was first established in 1977 and since then has contributed greatly to student life all around campus.
The Interfraternity Council (IFC) oversees 11 fraternities. Member chapters include Alpha Epsilon Pi (Colony), Alpha Sigma Phi, Alpha Tau Omega, Kappa Sigma, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta (Colony), Pi Kappa Phi, Sigma Pi, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Colony), and Tau Kappa Epsilon. All organizations in the IFC belong to either the North-American Intrafraternity Conference or the Fraternity Leadership Association.Sigma Phi Epsilon, the university's oldest fraternity, and Phi Gamma Delta were both booted off campus in 2011 and 2009, respectively. Alpha Lambda Tau, a fraternity for homosexual men that received national attention, was also governed under the IFC while it was active.
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) has seven chapters. Its members compose of historically African American entities that make up the Divine 9 that promote cultural diversity. The seven chapters are Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta and Sigma Gamma Rho.
The Multicultural Greek Council, which promotes diversity among its membership, has seven chapters as of Spring 2018: Alpha Sigma Rho, Delta Xi Nu, Gamma Beta, Kappa Delta Chi, Omega Delta Phi, Sigma Lambda Alpha, and Sigma Lambda Beta.
UTSA has one of the most extensive Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs in the United States and is the nation's seventh largest Air Force ROTC program with over 200 cadets. In 2009, the school's Air Force ROTC detachment won the Right of Line Award, the most prestigious award among all Air Force ROTC units, ranking first in the Southwest Region out of 36 detachments for producing the most second lieutenants in the Air Force. At the national level, (among 144 detachments), UTSA was ranked second behind Purdue University. UTSA also has a large Air Force ROTC program among Hispanic Serving Institutions . In 2009, The AFROTC unit was awarded 36 slots for field training compared to Texas A&M University, which had 32.
The Paisano is the student-run newspaper of the university. It has received numerous awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, winning a gold medal in 2000. The Paisano has remained fully independent of university administration since its inception in 1981 and publishes its issues on Tuesdays.
The official colors of UTSA are orange, white, and blue. The colors of the University of Texas System have historically been orange and white. Blue was selected upon the recommendation of the Student Representative Assembly (now Student Government Association) in accordance with the Board of Regents' Rules and Regulations, which states "an institution may adopt one additional color to be used in connection with athletic and other activities of the institution."
The roadrunner, a bird representative of the Texas Hill Country and the American Southwest, was voted the UTSA mascot in 1977. "Rowdy the Roadrunner" attends many university functions and games. On March 1, 2008, UTSA Athletics unveiled it new logos during the Homecoming Game against Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The athletic markings were changed due to noticeable similarities to the University of Kansas Jayhawk.
The alma mater was created by Alan Craven, former dean and professor of the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. Music was provided by Clarence ("Joe") Stuessy, a retired professor and former chair of the Department of Music.
Fiesta UTSA, an annual event held in April, began in 1978. The first Fiesta UTSA was attended by over 1,000 students and included music, a jalapeño eating contest, a watermelon seed spitting contest, a dunk tank, and other activities. Fiesta UTSA features dozens of booths set up under the Sombrilla in a carnival atmosphere. The booths are run by Registered Student Organizations and offer food, drinks and games. The Campus Activities Board sponsors bands and other musicians throughout the day. Fiesta UTSA became the kickoff event for Fiesta San Antonio each spring, having been added to the official Fiesta San Antonio schedule in 1980. The Fiesta royalty are present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that marks the official beginning of Fiesta.
Best Fest, an annual celebration held in October, began in 1978 (as "Bestfest") as "a special salute to five of the state's outstanding festivals," including New Braunfels's Wurstfest, Corpus Christi's Buccaneer Days, San Antonio's Fiesta, the Texas State Fair in Dallas, and George Washington's Birthday Celebration in Laredo. It was presented by the student organization Variety 79. In 1979, the event was said to be "a salute to five of the city's outstanding festivals: Fiesta Navidena, King William Fair, La Feria del Rio, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, and the Texas Folklife Festival." In the late 1970s, Best Fest included performances by the UTSA Brass Ensemble and UTSA Jazz Ensemble, several contests such as the jalapeño eating contest, egg toss, "Walking the Plank Contest," "Pee Wee Bicycle Races," and others. The modern Best Fest incorporates a Halloween theme with costume and booth-decorating contests.
Homecoming has many traditions at UTSA. One of the most notable, the annual Golf Cart Parade, is a unique event to UTSA. Student organizations band together to design and create decorated golf carts according to the year's homecoming theme, showing them off in front of an audience of over 9,000 Roadrunner fans. Each submission is constructed by students at the Golf Cart Decorating Party, an event held just a few days before in the University Center. The parade has been an official part of the university's homecoming ceremonies since 1993. In 2004 it was combined into the Rowdy Rampage Fireworks Spectacular, alongside the spirit rally and a live music concert.
The University Life Awards (also known as the "ULAs") is an award ceremony sponsored by Student Government Association with the purpose of recognizing outstanding leadership on campus. It recognizes students, student organizations, faculty and staff who have made an exceptional difference in the UTSA community. It is touted as the university's oldest tradition. Individuals and organizations are nominated by fellow students, faculty or staff. Awards include Most Outstanding Student (by colleges and classification), Greek Man and Woman of the Year, the Jane Findling Award and the Golden Feather Award.
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