It was fifty years ago today, on June 5, 1969, that Gov. Preston Smith stood in front of the Alamo and signed the recently passed bill to create the University of Texas San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
At the time San Antonio, which then had a population of about 650,000 was the largest city in the USA without a state university campus.
UTSA has a major celebration planned for this evening in front of the Alamo where the governor signed the bill fifty years ago today to celebrate the university's achievements over the past half century. A portion of Alamo St. will be closed for the event.
UTSA held classes for the first few years in rented space at the Koger Center office park, while planning and construction was underway on what would become the main campus on what was then single-lane Farm to Market 1604. In fact, the entire area around the planned main campus was mesquite trees and cactuses, and the campus in the middle of nowhere earned it the nickname of 'U.T. Boerne.'
Some 400 undergraduate and graduate students inaugurated the Main Campus in the fall of 1975. 46 students received Bachelor's Degrees in UTSA's first commencement, in the spring of 1976.
The eighties and nineties were the era of rapid growth for UTSA and for the main campus, which added numerous classroom buildings and its first dormatories, as enrollment surpassed 20,000 and moved toward 30,000.
The Institute of Texan Cultures was made a part of UTSA in 1986, becoming the university's second campus. The Downtown Campus was officially opened in 1997.
For many people, UTSA finally officially became a major college in September of 2011, when the Roadrunners played their first football game in the Alamodome.
Under President Taylor Eighmy, UTSA has recently announced a major expansion of the downtown campus, continues to grow and evolve on the main campus, and continues to strive towasrd Tier One status with major grants and a growing foundation. UTSA was recently ranked as one of the 400 top universities in the entire world.