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Kleberg Commons
Kleberg Commons
Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Commons,
UTSA Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building

UTSA's Kleberg Commons to be dedicated March 11

(March 7, 2008)--UTSA President Ricardo Romo will host a dedication ceremony of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Commons at the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building on the 1604 Campus at 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 11. The event is free and open to the public.

Romo will open the ceremony, followed by remarks from John Frederick, UTSA provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Helen K. Groves, president of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation and only child of Robert and Helen Kleberg. Tom C. Frost, San Antonio businessman and chair of the UTSA Development Board, also will assist with the unveiling of the commemorative plaque.

The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation was established in 1950. Begun by Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and his wife, Helen Campbell Kleberg, it was created as a general-purpose foundation with extra consideration given to medical research, veterinary and animal sciences, wildlife research and preservation, health services, higher education, community organizations, and the arts and humanities.

Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. was the grandson of Richard King, the founder of the King Ranch in South Texas. Born in Corpus Christi in 1896, Kleberg began his ranching career in 1916 and managed the ranch after his father's death in 1932. The King Ranch covers nearly 900,000 acres across six South Texas counties, and Kleberg was named president of the operation when it became a family corporation in 1935. He became well known in the agricultural field for his development of grazing grasses.

Kleberg met Helen Campbell in 1926, when she was visiting San Antonio. Her father was a lawyer and served for many years as a Republican representative from Kansas to the U.S. Congress. After a brief courtship, the couple married in Corpus Christi on March 2, 1926. Mrs. Kleberg was deeply interested in all the workings of the ranch and was deeply devoted to it. She was the impetus behind his decision to breed thoroughbred racehorses, which eventually led to the successful breeding of several Kentucky Derby winners.

Since 1950, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation has funded countless projects in Texas and across the country. A major donor to UTSA at a critical time in the development of the university's bioscience efforts, the foundation has provided more than $2.6 million in gifts to support a comprehensive bioscience initiative and to help purchase equipment for important research facilities for the College of Sciences.

UTSA dedicates the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Commons in honor of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation of San Antonio and its ongoing commitment to helping UTSA move ever closer to premier public research university status.

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The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Commons

The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Commons is a popular outdoor spot for UTSA students, faculty and staff, especially those of the nearby College of Sciences and College of Engineering. Located at ground level on the northeast side of the Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering Building, the 5,500-square-foot area provides a quiet retreat from the rigorous and intense academic environments within the BSE Building and other surrounding science and engineering teaching and research facilities. The naming of the gathering place as the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Commons celebrates the past generosity of the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation of San Antonio and its ongoing commitment to UTSA.

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