Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Longtime UTSA supporters Ed, Linda Whitacre donate $1 million to university for Klesse College and athletics

Courtesy of UTSA Whitacre Laboratory

UTSA announced on Nov. 6 that philanthropists Ed and Linda Whitacre gave a $1 million donation to support the university’s engineering programs along with a new athletics facility.

The money, which will be split evenly, will go towards UTSA Athletics fundraising for a new basketball and volleyball practice facility and the Margie and Bill Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design. 

$500,000 will go directly towards Klesse College’s Student Success Center. The center, which was established in 2016, serves as a central point of contact for industry professionals in engineering, architecture and related fields to help students with networking events, internships and employment. 

The other half of the donation will go towards the UTSA Athletics department, which Ed Whitacre is a longtime supporter of, along with the engineering program.

“In my short time here, I know that [the Whitacres] have continuously supported engineering and athletics,” UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Lisa Campos said. “UTSA is good for San Antonio and vice versa. They both believe in education and believe in supporting the university here in San Antonio and just making San Antonio a better place.”

Despite being a Texas Tech graduate and former Chairman and CEO of General Motors, Ed Whitacre has significant ties with Alamo City.

Born in Ennis, Texas, Ed is the former chairman of the board and CEO of AT&T, formally headquartered in San Antonio. Since retiring in the late 2010s, the Whitacres have continued to support the Roadrunners.

The new, not-yet-named athletics facility is set to begin construction in the next calendar year next to the Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence [RACE] building.

“We are currently fundraising for that facility, and our plan is to make it right next to the RACE center,” Campos said.

The RACE Center and the newly built UTSA Park West Athletics Complex, which finished construction in the summer of 2021 and 2023, respectively, the new basketball and volleyball facility will serve as a practice, training and office environment. Games and matches will continue to be played at the on-campus Convocation Center.

“We know that the Convocation Center right now is jam-packed, from early morning to late at night, between our sporting events [and] between academic units and their classes,” Campos said. “We really need a place for our student athletes to be able to train whenever they want, not be so prescribed at a time.”

With fundraising still to be done for the project, there are few details about what the facility will include. Campos did state that there will be multiple courts for both the volleyball and basketball teams.

 “We’re still in [the] ‘design phase,’” Campos said, “but what we’re looking for is a couple of courts for them to practice, locker rooms for the teams, team meeting space, there could be a weight room, and then a sports medicine area as well.”

The announcement of the donation comes over two weeks after the failed proposal to raise the athletics fee. With the overwhelming number of students in disagreement with the athletics fee raise, Campos says that donations such as the Whitacres’ will be the source for UTSA Athletics’ advancement.

“As we told the students as we were going around talking about the fees, we’re going to continue to find revenue,” Campos said. “Whether it’s through philanthropy, whether it’s through selling out games here in the Alamodome, our objective hasn’t changed. We know that we have great supporters like Linda and Ed in the community. We just need to continue building that revenue and building our budget.”

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Luke Lawhorn
Luke Lawhorn, Sports Editor
Luke (he/him) is an English major at UTSA and is set to graduate in the Spring of 2024. This is his fifth semester at The Paisano and his fourth as the Sports Editor. Along with covering UTSA sports and events, Luke also covers high school sports and local events for the San Antonio Express-News and covers the San Antonio Spurs for The Paisano. He has a huge passion for covering sports and giving his opinion on them. Outside of writing and talking about sports, Luke's hobbies include playing basketball, watching movies and all things outdoors.

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