Local educator Yvonne Katz '74 commits $1 million to UTSA alumni center

Yvonne Katz

Yvonne Katz

Share this Story

(Sept. 6, 2012) -- Yvonne Katz '74, Ph.D., a school superintendent who earned her master's degree in UTSA's first graduating class, has made a million-dollar commitment to support the UTSA Office of Alumni Programs and students who are pursuing careers in education. UTSA will dedicate the Dr. Yvonne Katz Alumni Center later this year to celebrate the nearly four decades of support she has since given to UTSA.

Katz's love of UTSA began in the early 1970s, when she began pursuing her master's degree in Educational Leadership. Following graduation, she worked with more than two dozen alumni to create the UTSA Alumni Association in 1977. She also served as the association's first president.

She began giving back to the university by establishing its first fund for student scholarships in honor of her parents, Norman and Valley Fern D'Olive. More recently, she joined the Sombrilla Society by establishing a charitable trust in her estate plan. She is now one of the first alumni to contribute to UTSA through a highly individualized gift annuity.

"Dr. Katz has been a wonderful supporter of UTSA for a very long time," said Jim Mickey '78, UTSA vice president of marketing and alumni programs. "She has given so much of her time to advance UTSA, and she has given dozens of gifts to support our students."

Katz hopes her gifts will encourage other working class professionals to give back to the university.

"My parents taught me to give back to my community because someone gave for me to pursue my dreams as a young person," she said. "It's important for me to help those wonderfully talented and very smart students from our public schools to attain their dreams at UTSA."

For more than three decades, Katz has built a successful career in education. She served as the superintendent of Harlandale Independent School District, Spring Branch Independent School District and Beaverton School District in Oregon. She also was the principal of a Northside Independent School District middle school.

The loyal Roadrunner also has been an active member of the community. Throughout her career, she has served many public and private organizations such as the International Women's Forum, Rotary, San Antonio Public Library and San Antonio Women's Chamber of Commerce, among others, and she has been honored many times. In 1980, she was named a UTSA Outstanding Alumnus, and Executive Educator magazine has twice named her one of its Outstanding 100 School Executives in North America. Currently, she is a member of the Alamo Community Colleges board of trustees.

"For nearly 40 years, Dr. Katz has set an inspiring example of how alumni can continue to make a difference in the lives of the UTSA students who are following in their footsteps," said UTSA President Ricardo Romo. "It is very fitting that we honor Dr. Katz by naming our new Alumni Programs office in her honor. As graduates and guests return to UTSA to share in our growth and to meet our new students, we will be able to share her inspiring story for years to come."