Najim center to expand to Downtown Campus


Photo courtesy of UTSA

Strategists pose with Najim during team presentations.

Gauri Raje, News Editor

Harvey Najim, a UTSA Campaign Leadership Council member, has committed two million dollars for the expansion of the Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement to the university’s downtown campus.

“[Najim’s] most recent gift in December, $2 million, will provide more students with hands-on learning experiences that make them even more competitive,” Cié Gee, associate vice provost for career-engaged learning, said. “The funds will be used to support our Najim strategists — students working on real-world projects with our industry partners — and students involved in Najim’s personal and professional development programs such as “Innovate Yourself in 3D” and “Identity, Equity, and Connection.”

“UTSA already has strong relationships with a significant network of great businesses and organizations in downtown San Antonio, and we look forward to forging new partnerships as our efforts expand,” Gee added.

Established in 2019 after a three million dollar gift from Najim, the center is a part of the university’s career-engaged learning division. The center “gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to gain real-world, paid experience in the workforce,” Gee explained.

At the core of the center’s philosophy is the concept of project-based learning. The center defines this as a “teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem or challenge.”

Since its opening, the center has given students the opportunity to participate in its Najim Strategist project, which allows students to “serve as consultants to an organization to aid in issues, challenges or opportunities they are currently facing.” Students that are a part of the program are referred to as “Najim Strategists.” Other opportunities include two competitions, one in the fall and one in the spring. 

Furthermore, the center offers various programs, including “Innovate Yourself in 3D” and “Identity, Equity and Connection.” Both programs are scheduled for the fall semester and offer selected students a $500 stipend. On the other hand, spring programs are more career focused.

The new Najim Center will be located in the San Pedro II building, the most recent addition to the university’s downtown campus footprint that was announced in November 2022.

“Our focus has been to reach as many students as possible on the Main Campus by way of intentional personal and professional development and project-based learning,” Erica Clark, associate director of innovation and career advancement, said. “With this new gift, the Najim Center’s downtown expansion will provide even more opportunities for students to engage with the downtown ecosystem and surrounding San Antonio areas.”

More information about the center and its services can be found at