Dr. Ricardo Romo’s State of the University Address was a simple message about continuing to make UTSA a premier research university.
“I want to give students the same opportunities I had,” Romo said.
In the ten years under President Romo, the university has grown in student population, physical size, and programs. The student population is currently over 29,000 students, with 400 master students and 100 doctoral students. The square footage has increased from two million square feet to four and a half million, and the doctoral programs have increased from 3 to 21.
Of the faculty hired by Romo, 70 percent are tenured professors. With the additions of professors Angela Hall in management, John Murphy in architecture, and Xiaohe Xu in sociology, Romo continues his push to “create an environment [for students] to reach their full potential.”
Romo also commented on current faculty and their achievements. Biology professor Bernard Arulanandam has been working on a vaccine for the STD Chlamydia. Romo also praised the Director of Athletics Lynn Hickey and her accomplishments on bringing a football team to UTSA and the hiring of Larry Coker.
Romo also mentioned State Representative Dan Branch and House Bill 51 of the Texas legislature. House Bill 51 was a bill passed earlier this year to help research universities reach tier-one status.
In his speech, Romo also talked about the master plan for 2016. By 2016, the school plans to have raised $100 million. With the current recession, UTSA has increased its budget by 7.5 percent, while 45 other states have had to cut back on theirs.
The master plan also hopes to improve teacher to student ratios from 25 to 1, improve the West campus and expand the Engineering and Technology departments. Romo had said that a donation of $2.5 million from Valero has helped the university come closer to its goal.
The conclusion of the speech talked about the recognition that UTSA has received so far. Romo was proud to announce that UTSA was the third research university in Texas, in the top 30 in research funding and was voted first in “Hispanic Business” as the top MBA school for Hispanics, beating out schools such as Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley.
The biggest accomplishment for Romo was the pride that 57 percent of the student population are the first in their families to attend college.
While proud of everything the university has accomplished, Romo does not take full credit. Using a Spurs reference, he described how everything has gone so far. “I’m just the coach,” he said, “You can accomplish a lot with the right team.”