Diana Natalicio, the longtime president of the University of Texas at El Paso, carries baseball playing cards that photograph her in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, wielding a bat. The playing cards list her as a five-foot-3 proper-exceeded pitcher, the person who aspires to become Major League Baseball commissioner.
As the tongue-in-cheek cards show, Natalicio, 79, is a good game with a disarming way approximately her. Those characteristics no doubt have helped make her one of the longest-serving university presidents inside the state. She has led UT-El Paso, better referred to as UTEP, for more than 31 years. According to the university’s studies, she is the longest-serving female leader ever at an unmarried 4-12 months public college in the kingdom; the longest-serving cutting-edge president, whether male or lady, of a public doctoral studies college; and the 6th longest-serving president ever for a public doctoral studies university. Most college presidents serve no more than numerous years earlier than shifting to some other presidency or returning to the college.
Natalicio stayed positioned at UTEP to pursue a -pronged approach of loosening admission requirements and ramping up studies, an approach that drew plenty of early grievances; however, he has met with tons of achievement. She will retire in mid-August, greater than two years after an almost deadly fitness scare from which she has completely recovered. In a sign of ways cherished she has come to be on campus, her hairstyle has spawned a T-shirt with a drawing of the again of her head and her hair twisted into her signature bun.
“The lower back of my head is the excellent attitude,” she quipped.
In beginning enrollment to all comers in place of adopting a selective approach to admissions, Natalicio argued that UTEP has a duty to serve its neighborhood community in place of pursuing a “Harvard on the border” intention, as some bumper stickers cautioned.
Despite graduation charges that have risen drastically over the years but still path the ones of many public universities in the state, UTEP has emerged as an effective engine for upward social and monetary mobility, lifting low-earnings college students who are the first generation their families to wait for college. About eighty percent of UTEP’s college students are Hispanic, and some commute from Juárez throughout Mexico. Although Natalicio isn’t always Hispanic, she was the primary in her family to earn a university degree, graduating from St. Louis University in 1961 with a bachelor’s in Spanish and UT-Austin for a master’s in Portuguese and a Ph.D. In linguistics.
Meanwhile, the range of doctoral packages that are crucial to attracting studies investment has soared at UTEP — from one in 1988, while Natalicio has become president, to 22. And these 12 months, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education positioned UTEP, with annual studies costs of around $90 million, within the class of “very excessive research hobby,” where it joined one hundred thirty different U.S. Faculties, including UT-Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, the University of California at Los Angeles and Harvard University.
“One of the reasons I desired to retain to serve as UTEP’s president is that lasting trade takes time,” Natalicio stated. “I knew that in five years or 10 years, I wasn’t going to get executed what needed to be accomplished to obtain our desires of each get right of entry to and excellence. We needed to have doctoral applications. We needed to have an aggressive school. We had to have laboratories and equipment and all the relaxation of it, which created for college kids to whom we supplied admission the possibility to succeed.”