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A.J. Rodriguez
Liza Hunter-Galvan
Top photo: Deputy City Manager A.J. Rodriguez
Bottom photo: Olympic athlete and teacher
Liza Hunter-Galvan

UTSA Alumni Association announces awards

By Marcia Mattingly
Communications Consultant, Office of Alumni Programs

(July 29, 2008)--Deputy City Manager A.J. Rodriguez will be named Alumnus of the Year and Olympic athlete and teacher Liza Hunter-Galvan will receive the Distinguished Service Award at the ninth annual UTSA Alumni Association Reflections Gala on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Westin La Cantera Resort and Hotel.

"This is the night we celebrate the influential and successful alumni of UTSA -- the leaders in our community who, through their hard work and successes, reflect the best of UTSA," said 2008 Gala chair Cathy Starnes, Ph.D. '92, chief executive officer/employee benefits consulting division of Southwest Business Corp.

The new gala theme, "Reflections," was chosen to exemplify UTSA traditions, spirit and pride and to reflect the past, present and future of UTSA through its outstanding alumni. The theme also captures the spirit and promise of the university as it realizes its dreams for the future.

The Alumnus of the Year Award was established in 1980 to recognize UTSA alumni who have gained unique distinction through their achievements. Award winner A.J. Rodriguez, B.B.A. '98, M.B.A. '00, devoted enormous energy to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as president and CEO from 1997 to 2008. Helping minority-owned businesses to advance in the marketplace, Rodriguez served as the chamber's adviser on local, state and national issues.

He helped create the Day of Advocacy, where local members meet with Austin legislators. Additionally, he supervised the directors of the Leadership San Antonio and Texas Scholars programs. Under his leadership, the Hispanic Chamber achieved a 49 percent increase in membership, and a 45 percent growth in total revenue. As the new San Antonio deputy city manager, Rodriguez oversees economic development, intergovernmental affairs, international affairs, the library system, and parks and recreation.

Rodriguez was listed in the San Antonio Business Journal's "40 Under 40" in 2003 and was named UTSA College of Business Young Alumnus of the Year in 2007. He serves on the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce executive board, the City of San Antonio River Commission and the advisory committee for JOVEN, a nonprofit agency for high-risk youth and their families. Rodriguez is a life member of the UTSA Alumni Association.

Established in 1997, the Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni and others who have made significant contributions to the UTSA Alumni Association or UTSA. Award winner Liza Hunter-Galvan, B.S. '93, M.A. '05, is an Olympic athlete, marathon runner, science teacher and mother. A native of New Zealand, she was recruited to UTSA to compete in cross-country and track in 1989. As a senior, she won the Southland Conference individual cross country championship and was named SLC Cross Country Athlete of the Year.

Hunter-Galvan continued to run recreationally after her college years. In 2004, the mother of four represented New Zealand in the Olympic Games in Athens, finishing 51st in the marathon. She represented New Zealand at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki, finishing 39th in the marathon. She has won many local, national and international races including the annual UTSA Alumni Diploma Dash. Always giving back to UTSA through participation in athletics and alumni events, Hunter-Galvan mentors athletes and serves as a role model to young women as an avid supporter of the UTSA Walk for Women's Athletics.

She and family members suffered a setback last year after a serious automobile accident while returning from a 10K race in the Rio Grande Valley. After awakening from a three-and-a-half-week coma, daughter Amber recovered to observe her 12th birthday. Overcoming hip and back injuries, Hunter-Galvan began training in August 2007 to qualify for the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Her personal best of 2:30:40 was recorded at the Amsterdam Marathon last fall, and on June 29, she won a spot on the New Zealand Olympic team. Hunter-Galvan and her husband, Ariel Galvan, '03, are joint members of the UTSA Alumni Association.

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UTSA Alumni Reflections Gala

The UTSA Alumni Reflections Gala begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 6:15 p.m. with music by the UTSA marimba ensemble. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 8:20 p.m. The popular Austin band, Newsboyz, will provide music for the evening. Dress for the evening is black-tie optional for men and cocktail attire for women.

Table sponsorships are available at the Diamond level for $5,000, the Emerald level for $3,500 and the Ruby level for $2,500. These sponsors will have a student scholarship named for them for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Sapphire level is $1,500 and individual tickets are $125. Each table seats eight.

For reservations or more information, visit the UTSA Alumni Gala Web site or call (210) 458-4133.

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UTSA Alumni Gala 2008 Power Drawing and Silent Auction

The Power Drawing is a great way to contribute to the UTSA Alumni Association Scholarship Fund. Purchase one ticket for $20 or 3 for $50 and have a chance to win one of these prizes: vacation for two to St. Maarten, $2,500 Valero pre-paid gas card, four-hour sailing tour of Lake Travis in Austin, trip for two to Breckenridge, Colo., with airfare to Denver, trip for two to Savannah, Ga., or a Samsung 40-inch flat panel HDTV. The prize drawings will be during the Reflections Alumni Gala Aug. 16; you need not be present to win.

For more information, visit the Power Drawing Web site or call (210) 458-4133.

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