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James Mickey
Robert McKinley
Top photo: James Mickey, '78
Bottom photo: Robert McKinley, '98

UTSA Alumni Association announces awards

By Marcia Mattingly
UTSA Office of Alumni Programs

(Sept. 18, 2007)-- The UTSA Alumni Association will recognize its own rising stars at the eighth annual Alumni Rising Star Gala, Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Westin La Cantera Resort. James C. Mickey, '78, will be honored as the Alumnus of the Year and a Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Robert M. McKinley, '98, associate vice president of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development.

One of the first students to attend classes on the 1604 Campus, Mickey supported the first UTSA athletics teams and recalls his participation in the adoption of the roadrunner as the official UTSA mascot. "It was the roadrunner versus the armadillo," he said. Earning a B.B.A. in 1978, Mickey was immediately hired by Southwestern Bell (now AT&T), and then moved to Sprint in 1996, where he rose to national vice president by 2006.

As former president of Movida Communications, Mickey directed the operations of wireless communications services targeted to 40 million U.S. Hispanics. He and his wife Pat generously support student scholars through the UTSA Alumni Association's Gala and Diploma Dash, Women's Walk for Athletics, the College of Business and President Ricardo Romo's Campaign.

A life member of the association since 1998, Mickey served on the board of directors for six years and two years on the UTSA Athletics Advisory Board. For nine semesters, Mickey has officiated at the UTSA official ring ceremony where, in 2005, he presented a ring to his stepdaughter, Katie Fry, '05. Daughter Jenna is a senior at UTSA.

"I am proudest of helping create in 2004 a Sprint retail management training and college recruiting program, and the first six company hires from this program were UTSA graduates," said Mickey. "I have met many quality UTSA students through the years who know I am an alumnus and I am humbled by how they respect UTSA and my service. I just give my best every day and take the spirit of UTSA with me."

Since 1990, Robert McKinley has guided the steady growth of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) as its associate vice president. IED provides 30,000 businesses with consulting, training and research services, and its programs extend UTSA's presence through 10 offices that span the entire Southwest Texas border region, and others operate nationwide in the United States and Mexico.

McKinley has always been committed to community service. Earning a B.S. degree in community development from Penn State in 1978, he worked as a community organizer among rural Mayan ejidos in Yucatan, and was executive director of the Hispanic Chamber in Fort Worth. In 1990, he joined UTSA to lead the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and then moved to IED, a center of excellence for UTSA which consistently ranks among the top five such programs nationwide.

Within the UTSA community, McKinley volunteered to facilitate the UTSA 2016 strategic plan and has led cross-disciplinary task forces to help UTSA evolve into a premier public research university. His son, Justin Ng, completed in May his UTSA master's in environmental science.

The Rising Star Gala chair is Susan Filyk, '95, and honorary chairs are Jeff Clarke, '86, and Loretta Clarke, '87, '90. Special guests at the event will be UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Dr. Harriett Romo. The emcee will be KENS TV anchor Deborah Knapp. A silent auction and cocktail music reception will begin at 6:15 p.m., Sept. 22 with dinner at 7:30 p.m. The seven winners of the Power Drawing will be announced during the program.

Table sponsorships for the event are available at the Rising Star level for $3,500, Shooting Star level for $2,500 and Lone Start level for $1,500. Sponsor tables seat eight. Rising Star and Shooting Star sponsors will have one student scholarship named for them for the 2007-2008 academic year. Individual tickets are $125. A portion of the gala proceeds benefits the UTSA Alumni Association Scholarship Fund; last year the gala raised more than $58,000 for student scholars.

To sponsor a table, make a reservation or volunteer, visit the UTSA Alumni Association Web site or call (210) 458-4133.

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