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Applied Engineering and Technology Building Dedication

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What an exciting day for UTSA!

Today we dedicate our new Applied Engineering and Technology Building. But first, I would like to recognize a few special visitors.

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa—Dr. Cigarroa is a nationally renowned pediatric and transplant surgeon and is the first Hispanic in the United States to lead a public university system.

State Sen. Judith Zaffirni—a great friend to this university and a great proponent of higher education in this state.

You will have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Cigarroa and Sen. Zaffirini in a minute.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte—UTSA’s champion for the creation of SALSI, the San Antonio Life Science Institute. Because of the efforts of Sen. Van de Putte, we have legislative investment to breathe life into SALSI, which is our strong collaboration with the UT Health Science Center, our sister institution. Thank you, senator.

State Sen. Jeff Wentworth—always a tireless leader for higher education. Sen. Wentworth is one of the original founders of the Texas Grant programs that have benefited thousands of Texas students. He is also one of our past adjunct faculty members in political science. Thank you, Sen. Wentworth for your time, teaching, and for your unlimited energy.

Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon—a great champion for her district and for education. Rep. McClendon was instrumental in securing revenue bond funding for UTSA’s AET Building on the House side during the 2005 legislative session and during the 2006 special session.

Rep. McClendon will also address you in a few minutes.

I would also like to recognize Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, a longtime friend of this university and a solid leader for the people of Bexar County.

And Bartell Zachry, chairman of Zachry Group Inc., and another great friend to UTSA. You will hear from Mr. Zachry a little later as well.

I would also like to recognize Mauli Agrawal, dean of the College of Engineering, and George Perry, dean of the College of Sciences. Their faculty and students are the recipients of this magnificent building where I know they will break new ground in research and innovation.

I would also like to recognize our Bexar County delegation that is always supportive of our efforts at UTSA. Will members of the Bexar County delegation please stand. Thank you.

And I would like to recognize Kenny Wilson, chairman of UTSA’s Development Board, chairman emeritus Tom Frost and all of the development board members who are here today. Thank you all for coming.

In addition to the great people I just named, I would like to recognize the groups responsible for construction of the AET.

First, the general contractor—Walbridge/Bartlett Cocke. With us today representing Waldbridge/Bartlett Cocke are Don Greenwell Jr., senior vice president of Walbridge; Peter Hellekjaer, vice president, Walbridge; Randy Pawelek, president and CEO of Bartlett Cocke General Contractors; and Bartlett Cocke Jr., founder of Bartlett Cocke General Contractors.

And I would especially like to thank Walbridge/Bartlett Cocke for helping to host today’s dedication.

Representing the architectural firm of Garza Bomberger are David Torres, Frank Dunckel, and Kevin Nerrick of NBBJ.

Representing HMG & Associates is Ben Rodriguez. His firm is responsible for the mechanical, electrical and plumbing components of the AET.

Representing structural engineering firm Jaster-Quintanilla are Larry Rickels and Agustin Tellez.

And from The University of Texas System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction are Michael O’Donnell, associate vice chancellor and his team.

We were also privileged to have a UTSA alumnus and two UTSA students working on this building.

Carlos Ibarra, assistant project manager for Waldbridge/Bartlett-Cocke, graduated from UTSA, fall 2004, with a degree in architecture.

Sergio Rios Jr. and Harry Moeller Jr. were part of the field and office support staff during the construction.

Sergio recently graduated with a degree in civil engineering and Harry is currently a senior majoring in civil engineering.

How great is that to have our own Roadrunners working on this new addition to the campus!

I would like to recognize our fine deans and administrators: John Frederick, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs; Marjie French, vice president, University Advancement; Kerry Kennedy, vice president, Business Affairs; Robert Gracy, vice president, Research; Gage Paine, vice president, Student Affairs; Jude Valdez, vice president, Community Services; Dorothy Flannagan, vice provost, dean of the Graduate School; John Murphy, dean, Architecture ; Lynda de la Vina, dean, Business; Betty Merchant, dean, Education and Human Development; Daniel Gelo, dean, Liberal and Fine Arts; Dennis Haynes, interim dean, Public Policy; Richard Diem, dean, Honors College; and Krisellen Maloney, dean, Library

As I said before, what a great day for UTSA!

The Applied Engineering and Technology Building is the second phase of the Biotech/Science/Engineering Building, and forms UTSA’s science complex, which surrounds you today.

And just like every building on this campus, the new AET includes public art.

To your right are two nanostems and to your left is a depiction of a nucleus created by Cliff Garten of California.

Art is an important part of the academic environment on this campus, and we are pleased to include these great pieces.

Now, the total cost of the AET is $82.5 million, funded through Permanent University Funding (PUF) and Tuition Revenue Bonds.

I would like to thank Sen. Zaffirini and Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon for their leadership in securing this needed funding.

As I said before, the AET is an additional part of our science complex and will house the Departments of Biomedical, Civil and Environmental, Computer and Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering. It will also house the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Sciences.

The AET is a very important part of our Tier One goal because it gives our faculty and students a Tier One facility in which to conduct research, and that is tremendous!

Research and the amount of research spending are key indicators of Tier One.

How do you increase research spending? By attracting top faculty who are research intensive.

How do you attract top faculty? By offering Tier One research facilities like the Applied Engineering and Technology Building.

Today’s dedication adds to an already exciting 2010 for UTSA.

A few days ago, the world’s most powerful electron microscope was installed on this campus within this science complex.

We have a total enrollment of 29,000 students including more than 500 doctoral candidates, and we added more than 50 excellent new faculty members this academic year.

We’ve accomplished a great deal in 40 years! And we are looking forward to more great things happening at this university.

As we prepare to cut the ribbon, I ask that Chancellor Cigarroa, Sen. Zaffirini, Rep. McClendon and Bartell Zachry please return to the stage.

Also, would members of the Bexar County Legislative Delegation come to the podium.

I would like to thank everyone for coming today and supporting UTSA in its Tier One efforts. I invite everyone to a reception in the rotunda, and I encourage you all to take part in the AET Building tours.

Thank you.

Ricardo Romo
President
The University of Texas at San Antonio