During 2014, the El Paso community joined UTEP in a year-long celebration of our 100th anniversary, underscoring the central role that the university has played in bringing educational, economic, cultural enrichment, and improved quality-of-life opportunities to the residents of this region.
Now, as we conclude UTEP’s Centennial Celebration and enter our second century of ever higher aspirations, I reiterate on behalf of the faculty, staff and students at UTEP our deep appreciation to all El Pasoans for your sustained commitment to the university and our dramatic transformation over the past 100 years.
The foundational partnerships that we have built together have helped shape UTEP’s highly exciting growth and success.
Our focus on a mission of access and excellence has been an essential pillar of UTEP’s effectiveness. With an unwavering commitment to both accessibility and quality over the past quarter of a century, UTEP has emerged on the national stage as a model for 21st century higher education. For a second consecutive year,
UTEP has been ranked among the top 10 research universities in the U.S. by Washington Monthly magazine for our strong impact on the students we serve, our research competitiveness and doctoral degrees awarded, and our success in encouraging students to serve their communities and the nation.
And for a third year in succession, Washington Monthly ranked UTEP No. 1 among all U.S. colleges and universities in promoting student social mobility — enabling students from all backgrounds and cultures to set and attain the highest educational and life aspirations.
Our steadfast determination to ensure both equitable opportunities and excellent educational experiences has distinguished UTEP nationally and enabled us to contribute to re-shaping the U.S. higher education narrative.
We recognize our responsibility to provide all students who entrust us with their dreams and aspirations — regardless of their background or socioeconomic status — an affordable opportunity to achieve their full potential, and we understand that students have every right to expect excellence in their educational experiences.
In collaboration with our surrounding community, UTEP has developed a robust research environment, a culture of accountability, and systems to support students from pre-enrollment through graduation. As a result, UTEP degrees have greatly appreciated in value.
We’re very proud that UTEP graduates are fully prepared to compete with their peers in more affluent settings. They are eagerly recruited by graduate and professional schools and employers who value their talent, their strong academic preparation, their work ethic, and their bilingual and bicultural skills — assets that are in increasing demand, both across the United States and internationally.
UTEP’s model of affordability, equity and excellence is replicable, which means that attainment of a high-quality education can become a reality for students across this nation who are residents of historically underserved areas, or those who are judged to be “non-traditional” or “at-risk.”
It’s clear that talent crosses socioeconomic, gender, race and geographic boundaries, and that we’re all going to have to work harder to prevent the continued squandering of that talent. To compete in the 21st century global economy, the U.S. must capitalize on the full capacity of its richly diverse population.
UTEP has a leading role to play in these exciting developments, both regionally and on the national stage. We look forward with profound optimism to partnering with all of you as we proudly begin the first year of our second century as El Paso’s university.
Diana Natalicio is president of the University of Texas at El Paso.
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