Office of University Communications
Founded by the 61st Texas Legislature on June 5, 1969, UTSA was commissioned as a university of the first class, offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees as are customarily offered at leading American universities. When UTSA was established, San Antonio was the only major city in the area not served by a public university.
City leaders, legislators and the public knew that if San Antonio were to achieve its full potential as a city, a university would be needed to offer a comprehensive array of courses and degree programs.
The university's first two presidents, Arleigh B. Templeton and Peter T. Flawn, worked diligently to hire a faculty, develop a curriculum and library, and finalize the plans for the new campus, which was to be built on 600 acres of land just south and west of the junction of Interstate 10 and Loop 1604. At the time of its construction, between 1972 and 1976, the UTSA campus was the largest university construction project in the country, comprising seven major buildings.
UTSA's first official class was humble by comparison with today's figures. In the summer of 1973, UTSA admitted 671 graduate students to degree programs in leased facilities in the Koger Center. There were 52 faculty. Master's degrees were offered in business administration, education, bicultural-bilingual studies, English as a second language, environmental management, Spanish, biology, and mathematics and systems design. By September 1973, graduate enrollment had grown to 1,113.
UTSA experienced a period of rapid enrollment growth throughout the 1980s while James W. Wagener served as president. New buildings were added and degree programs developed as the campus began to take on much of its present character. In February 1986, the UT System designated the Institute of Texan Cultures as a campus of UTSA.
In 1990, UTSA's fourth president, Samuel A. Kirkpatrick, began a new phase of UTSA's history by initiating a comprehensive strategic planning process and securing funds for construction of buildings. In 1997, UTSA opened the Downtown Campus, west of Interstate 37 and Durango Boulevard.
In 1999, Ricardo Romo became UTSA's fifth president and ushered in a new era of community involvement and academic excellence. A native of San Antonio, Romo expanded the University's commitment to providing access to quality higher education, while he guided the UTSA community to increase integration of the three campuses: Main, Downtown and the Hemisphere Park.
The university now offers more than 125 degree programs, including doctorates in biomedical engineering; four concentrations in business administration; cell and molecular biology; chemistry; computer science; counselor education and supervision; culture, literacy and language; educational leadership; electrical engineering; English; environmental science and engineering; neurobiology; physics; applied statistics; applied demography and anthropology.
In fall 2007, 3,499 graduate students and 25,034 undergraduates were enrolled for a record total of 28,533 students. UTSA is increasingly becoming a university of first choice for students from Texas and around the country.
The university has had 55 Fulbright Scholars, and 98 percent of the tenured or tenure-track faculty have doctorates or terminal degrees in their fields. UTSA was awarded more than $50 million last fiscal year for research expenditures and other sponsored programs.
In 2004, as UTSA celebrated its 35th anniversary, two important new facilities opened at the Main Campus: the Main Building, which provides the university with more classroom, laboratory and administrative office space; and Chaparral Village at UTSA, a student housing complex that brings the number of students living on campus to 3,000. Also in 2004, the university reached a land swap agreement with the City of San Antonio to increase the size of the Downtown Campus.