UTSA freshman gather for Fall Convocation Aug. 26 with author Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea

UTSA Fall Convocation keynote speaker, author Luis Alberto Urrea

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(Aug. 26, 2013) -- Approximately 4,500 new UTSA undergraduate students will gather to launch the new academic year at the 2013 Fall Convocation Ceremonies. The 12th annual convocation marks the first step that the UTSA Class of 2017 takes in its undergraduate academic career and serves as an opportunity for the university to welcome the new undergraduate students.

This year there will be two convocation ceremonies. The back-to-back ceremonies are 10-11 a.m. and 1:30-2:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 26 in the Convocation Center on the UTSA Main Campus. Attendance is mandatory for new students. For logistical information, read more in a previous story on UTSA Today.

>> Luis Alberto Urrea, author of "The Devil's Highway," is the keynote speaker for the ceremony. "The Devil's Highway," a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, was the 2013 Summer Common Reading selection by the UTSA Learning Communities program for all first-year UTSA undergraduate students. Students, faculty and staff are invited to a Meet-and-Greet with Urrea from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the Retama Auditorium (2.02.02) in the University Center. "The Devil's Highway" is a winner of the Lannan Literary Award. Urrea is the best-selling author of 13 books. He is a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame.

Over the summer, "The Devil's Highway" provided the new undergraduates with a shared subject to engage in meaningful discussions with their peers and colleagues. They were required to read the novel in time for Fall Convocation.

Urrea's novel follows the journey of 26 men who in May 2001 attempted to cross the Mexican border into the Arizona desert through what is commonly referred to as the Devil's Highway. Their journey led them to the largest United States-Mexico border death event in history. Through the lives of these men, Urrea details the unspeakable courage and the true spirit of humanity in their pursuit of the American Dream.

The UTSA Learning Communities are groups of students who share common interests and majors. During the fall semester, students awill be enrolled in two or three core curriculum classes together and actively engage in collaborative learning. The Summer Common Reading Program is an opportunity for incoming undergraduate students to build an academic and social community.

As part of the Tomas Rivera Center for Student Success, the UTSA Learning Communities cultivates an environment where students can learn and apply the academic skills and knowledge critical to their success in college. The program also creates opportunities for students to develop a sense of belonging and connection with the greater UTSA community.

For more information about UTSA Learning Communities and the Summer Common Reading program, call 210-458-7509.

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About UTSA

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 31,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property – for Texas, the nation and the world.