San Antonio CafÃ© College aids high school students in their path to higher education by offering services such as college admission assistance, financial aid guidance, career exploration, advising and SAT or ACT preparation. However, the name of the center will soon be changed to the Manuel Berriozabal CafÃ© College to honor an outstanding member of the San Antonio community.
Manuel Phillip Berriozabal, UTSA mathematics professor, was born in San
Antonio, Texas in 1931. He studied mathematics at Rockhurst College, University of Notre Dame and University of California Los Angeles, earning his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. He taught at UCLA, Loyola University of Los Angeles and, since 1976, at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Berriozabal has received prestigious awards and was inducted into the Texas Science Hall of Fame. But perhaps, his most important achievement was the founding of the San Antonio Prefreshman Engineering Program (PREP) in 1979. The PREP program operates in 15 Texas cities every summer. It focuses on providing middle and early high school students with the support system to encourage their pursuit to higher education in science, technology, engineering and math.
“I noticed that in my math classes, the Hispanic enrollment was too low, and those Hispanics who were enrolled were doing poorly in these classes because they did not have the problem-solving skills,” said Berriozabal.
Over the years, the PREP program has received 40 million dollars from national, state, local and private sources. The program has served over 32 thousand students with alarming success. 90 percent of PREP students have graduated from college, 70 percent of which are members of a minority group.
Because of the program’s positive impact in community, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro recognized Berriozabal’s dedicated efforts and changed the name of the CafÃ© College in his honor.
“I never expected to have an honor like this,” Berriozabal expressed. “It was a very pleasant surprise! You do not expect to have a building named after you.”