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UTEP celebrates 2017 convocation

Claudia Flores
UTEP Students presented about the UTEP EDGE initiative at the 2017 Fall Convocation on Thursday.

UTEP’s President Diana Natalicio presented the annual State of the University at the 2017 Fall Convocation on Thursday, Sept. 28, at Magoffin Auditorium.

At the ceremony, Natalicio remarked on the various achievements of the university this past year, and the most recent ones, starting with the all-time enrollment record.

“This new academic year UTEP got off to a especially energizing start, setting a new record with more than 25,000 students enrolling in our campus this fall,” Natalicio said. “This is good news because more students are choosing to pursuit their higher aspirations at UTEP.”

During the event, Natalicio also talked about the advantages of UTEP’s larger population, as this brings new opportunities for the students of the region and the economic development of the city.

“The young people of this region understand the important role higher education plays in determining their family’s lives trajectory,” Natalicio said, “And here at UTEP we’re working together to build this region’s economic prosperity and quality of life.”

At the Convocation, Natalicio addressed the three UTEP faculty members that were granted the 2017 UT Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Song An, assistant professor of mathematics education, Isabel Baca, associate professor of English, and Ann Branan Horak, associate professor of practice in religious studies and women’s and gender studies, received the recognition by the University of Texas System and a $25,000 prize, which accompanies each award.

During the ceremony, Natalicio spoke about the progress of UTEP’s development as the $85 million research building is expected to be completed by early 2020. Natalicio also spoke about the unfortunate reduction in appropriations by the Texas Legislature, which created a $5 million budget decrease at UTEP.

“Traditionally the two primary sources of support for education and student development are state appropriations and student tuition and fees,” Natalicio said. “When state appropriations decline, tuition and fees tend to rise to make up the difference, this is especially difficult at institutions like UTEP that serves students with limited financial means.”

In the goals achieved last year, Natalicio pointed out the launching of the Pharmacy Doctoral Degree Program under the direction of founding Dean Jose Rivera and his team, which allowed 41 students to celebrate their white coat ceremony this past August.

Natalicio said another achievement at the university was the new email address system called Miner Link. The new system provides a connection between UTEP alumni and UTEP students to give students the opportunity to reach out for jobs and internships.

During the event, Natalicio invited Erika Mein, co-chair for teacher education and Ivette Savina, assistant vice president for outreach and student access, to talk about UTEP EDGE, the new initiative to help students achieve their goals through developing their skills and talents.

To end convocation, four UTEP students went on stage to present the new opportunities the UTEP EDGE offers the students through a series of enriching experiences such as study abroad, student employment, first-year experience and many more.

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Claudia Flores, Editor-in-chief
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UTEP celebrates 2017 convocation