University President Ricardo Romo and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Gage E. Paine recognized the UTSA University Center as an example of the power of student involvement for the entire UTSA Campus at the UC 25th Anniversary Celebration on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 in the UC Ski Lodge. Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Kevin S. Price served as the master of ceremonies. Four alumni and one faculty member were honored for their roles on the building committee for the first UC building which opened in the summer of 1986.
President Romo began the program and applauded the valuable purpose the UC serves for the campus community and noted how the UC has become the vibrant center of university activity.
Charles Miles, a UTSA student and chair of the UC Advisory council followed President Romo and spoke about his experiences in the UC.
“I wear a lot of different hats on campus with a wide range of student organizations. The UC is one constant throughout all of them,” Miles said. “The UC provides a great place for to relax, study, be involved and have events.”
Dr. Paine said the original UTSA master plan was approved in 1970 and did not include a student union building. Students at that time used open areas or lounges in available buildings across campus for programs and activities. There was no centralized place for activities. The UC Program Council was formed to plan events and promote the UC before ground was even broken on the –and serving on the UC building committee.
Dr. Paine also recognized the many special guests in attendance that helped to create the UC. She presented a commemorative plaque to Jane Burton, the first director of the UC, Dr. Kenneth Weiher, chair of the Department of Economics and faculty member on the building committee as well as Wayne Terry (’85) and Janet Montrueil Parish (’86). Terry and Parish served on the UCPC and on the UC Building Committee. Dr. Ronald K. Garcia (’82) was also honored. He also served on the UCPC and was Student Government Association President from 1980 to 1981.
“[The students] had to be resourceful in those days,” said Jane Burton, the first director of the UC who most recently served as the director of Alumni Programs until her recent retirement from UTSA. “I give all the credit [for the establishment of the UC] to the students. They were the ones who had the idea that we needed a University Center on this campus.”
Several other individuals on the UC building committee were recognized but were not able to attend: Faculty member Dr. Daniel Hogenauer and alumni Robert Andrews (’82), Marcia Boisvert (’84), Janet Provines (’85) and Carol Schafer (deceased).
“When I was a student we battled a lot with people thinking this was only a commuter campus,” said Terry. “The UC and the campus in general are beyond the vision we even had then.”
“We are benefiting today from the hard work of all these individuals,” said Dr. Paine. She later wrote that “student engagement is not a buzzword—when it really happens…it benefits all and lasts into the unknown future.”