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

John Montoya:  The Godfather of UTSA


“One of the ways I earned the nickname, ‘The Godfather,’ is that people come to me with their problems, and I help them solve them,” UTSA staff member John Montoya recalled.

Montoya is the Assistant Director of Student Leadership and the Student Government Association (SGA). With a master’s degree from UTSA in Multi-Cultural Studies, Montoya offers insight about student leadership and success.

Q. What did you major in? How did you get to where you are today?

A. I attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and I majored in Political Science in 1995. I came from a military family, and my dad was stationed at a base there: Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The university was right by the base, so it made sense [to attend there].

Q. Did you pursue a degree higher than your bachelor’s?

A. I came to UTSA and got my Master’s in Multi-Cultural Studies in 1998.

Q. Why Poli-Sci and Multi-Cultural Studies?

A. When you’ve lived all over the U.S. and when you’re in a military setting, you start developing an interest in how the world works, so Political Science was very interesting to me. But when I graduated [after Wright State], I lost some of my interest in the political side of things, and was more into the people side of things.

Q. What was your first job at UTSA?

A. I was an Academic Advisor. I worked at the Tomas Rivera Center, and I worked for the Learning Communities Program, then I came to Student Activities in 2008.

Q. As an advisor for Student Government, what do you do?

A. What I basically do is help run SGA, but what I really do is student development – helping students develop their leadership and organizational skills. I help them with questions they have, issues (and) problems.

Q. Are there any fun details about your life outside of school and work that you would like to share?

A. I think (the fact that) I went to high school in Germany is interesting. People get to come and visit, but how many get to live in Germany? I went to Berlin when it was separated into East and West Berlin, so I had to travel through East Germany, stopping at checkpoints along the way that were manned by Russian soldiers.

We went to East Berlin. I swear, it was sunny in West Berlin; it was beautiful and a very modern city. And then you go across into East Berlin, and it was overcast and it did not feel like a modern city at all — like you went back in time a little bit.

Q: What other things do you oversee at UTSA, besides SGA?

A: I have some other duties. I work at the football games and (oversee) the student tailgating section. So I’m an extra pair of eyes and ears observing, making sure everything is fine.

I also work at graduation helping with the staging. Again, just supporting the people who are already in place. I help with some of the big programs like University Life Awards, Roadrunner Days programming, and our orientation programming.

John Montoya continues as the SGA advisor while aiding students in becoming stronger leaders and better people as SGA furthers in university improvement and enhancement.

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