UTSA alumnus makes first million-dollar gift to UTSA Athletics

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(Jan. 19, 2010)--Officials at The University of Texas at San Antonio announced today local franchise restaurant owners Jim Bodenstedt, a graduate of the UTSA College of Business (1996), and spouse Cathy Bodenstedt, a current UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts undergraduate student, are the first private donors to write a million-dollar check to support the UTSA football program.

In recognition of their gift, UTSA will rename the student athletic learning center, currently housed in the Multidisciplinary Studies Building on the Main Campus, The James and Catherine Bodenstedt Athletic Learning Center. The center provides academic support and personal development services for more than 250 UTSA student athletes.

"What a great way for our athletics program to start 2010," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "I am thankful for Jim and Cathy's support for this university," said Romo. "Their gift is going to have an immediate impact on not just UTSA, but San Antonio and South Texas. It is truly wonderful to see a UTSA alumnus and a current student providing an opportunity for others to attend UTSA and become part of the UTSA family. UTSA football is opening a new door for us, one where former students, current students, community leaders, and fans can come together and show their UTSA pride."

The Bodenstedts' gift will be used to fund scholarships for football student-athletes, the first monies allocated for fall 2010 early recruits. UTSA will sign student-athletes in February for classes and football practice that will begin fall 2010 in preparation for the inaugural season of Roadrunner football in fall 2011.

"We are thankful and delighted that Jim and Cathy stepped forward to make the first seven figure gift to the football program," said Lynn Hickey, assistant vice president and director of athletics. "Their support will allow our student-athletes the opportunity to earn a degree at UTSA and play Division I football. The Bodenstedts are the latest alumni to make a commitment, and they have stepped forward in a big way."

The Bodenstedts own and operate MUY Brands LLC a 117-unit franchise restaurant company with locations in Texas and New Mexico. They met in high school in the 1980s while working at a local restaurant. Years later in 2003, they started MUY Brands and acquired 18 Taco Bell and KFC restaurants in West Texas and Corpus Christi. Today, MUY Brands also includes Pizza Hut, Wing Street, Long John Silver's and A&W restaurants.

Jim enrolled at UTSA as a non-traditional student and completed his degree in 23 months, often taking 27 hours a semester and testing out of classes through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Cathy currently is enrolled at UTSA and pursuing a degree in art history.

"We are proud to help support UTSA football led by Head Coach Larry Coker," said Jim Bodenstedt. "This is an important milestone in UTSA's journey to being a Tier One university. The football program will highlight the university on a local and national basis, showcasing what we all know is a first-class educational environment. We also want to appeal to those 50,000 UTSA graduates who reside in San Antonio, and all the rest of San Antonio and South Texas for that matter, to help support Roadrunner football, as we all benefit from excellence on and off the field."

In December 2008, the UT System Board of Regents approved UTSA's Athletic Initiative Business Plan, granting the university permission to expand athletics and add a football program.

UTSA is funding the athletic initiative through student fees and corporate and private support like the Bodenstedts and other revenue streams that do not draw from the institutional academic budget. Including this gift, more than $2.1 million has been raised since January 2009 to fund the expanded athletics program -- an initiative with a private sector fundraising goal of $15 million.

The university's intent behind the expansion of the sports program and adding football is to engage current students at new levels by providing them an enhanced and more complete university experience and draw former students and the San Antonio community closer to the university and its continuing development toward national research university status.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is one of the fastest growing higher education institutions in Texas and the second largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the UT System. As a multicultural institution of access and excellence, UTSA aims to be a national research university providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA serves nearly 29,000 students in 64 bachelor's, 48 master's and 21 doctoral degree programs in the colleges of Architecture, Business, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal and Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, UTSA is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.