Posted on March 20, 2018 by Jana Schwartz

More than 1,300 students, faculty, staff, delegates and special guests from across the nation watched as Eighmy was formally inducted as the sixth president of UTSA.

by Courtney Clevenger

(March 21, 2018) — The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) dreamed about its future among the stars on Tuesday at the Inauguration of President Taylor Eighmy. More than 1,300 students, faculty, staff, delegates and special guests from across the nation watched as Eighmy was formally inducted as the sixth president of UTSA. The ceremony focused on UTSA's commitment to students and the direction and growth of the university, which since September 1, 2017 has been under Eighmy's leadership.

>> Watch a webcast of the Inauguration .

President Taylor Eighmy photo

The Inauguration was a community-wide and family affair. About 30 members of Eighmy's family traveled from all over the U.S. to share in the special day. Guests also included San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, and many other civic leaders. More than 50 delegates representing more than 50 institutions from around the country were present, many of whom are friends and family of Eighmy. UT System and San Antonio leaders also attended.

Jaciel Castro, the UT System's Student Regent and the first UTSA student to serve in the role, welcomed guests and served as the event's Master of Ceremonies. As the Student Regent, Castro was part of the hiring process for Eighmy last summer. He calls Eighmy "the president of the future."

“President Eighmy is the ideal person to lead us in this critical time in our world,” Castro said. “He leads humbly by listening well, being present in the community and thinks ahead, already recruiting my baby daughter into the UTSA class of 2038.”

City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, who represents District 5, where the Downtown Campus is located, offered President Eighmy congratulations on behalf of the City of San Antonio. She said Eighmy's vision to reimagine the Downtown Campus can help the west side begin a renaissance.

“UTSA is the gateway to San Antonio. The Downtown Campus is a gateway to the west side,” Gonzales said. “I applaud you, Dr. Eighmy, for your commitment to building the Downtown Campus and helping the children who live near it to realize their dreams to attend college is a reality.”

Next, UTSA Student Government Association President Marcus Thomas provided opening remarks. He said Eighmy's interaction with students resonates with them. Thomas introduced a video featuring students sharing what they say stands out about Eighmy, most notably, his sincerity to help students grow and achieve their dreams.

UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven delivered special remarks, noting that one of Eighmy's greatest strengths is his passion for student success.

“He takes aspiring young scholars and puts them on a path toward a degree, a happy career and a healthy life,” McRaven said. “He also understands and is energizes by the potential of this university and the impact it can have on San Antonio, Texas and the world.”

Notably, Carmen Tafolla, a professor in the UTSA Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies and 2015-2016 Texas Poet Laureate, read “ Estrellas of Possibility ,” the poem she wrote for the Presidential Inauguration. Her poem celebrates Eighmy's vision to make UTSA a thriving university that promotes success.

Following the ceremonial conferring, which included fist bumps and a unique handshake between President Eighmy and Chancellor McRaven, Eighmy received a standing ovation and delivered a genuine, unscripted 38-minute speech. In what he called a celebration of UTSA students, Eighmy shared three key messages. The first one for the students: Dream big.

“Our job is to help you (students) find your dream and realize your dream,” Eighmy said. “This is your time while you're here to realize your dream.”

Next, his message for the UTSA community: Be a leader.

“Now is your moment to lead with us, to join us as we take this institution forward,” Eighmy said.

His third message focused on the importance of the partnership between UTSA and San Antonio.

“Our mission as an urban serving university of the future is to be community-engaged and give back.”

Eighmy then invited all in attendance to volunteer during UTSA's Day of Service on Saturday, March 24. More than 1,200 UTSA students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters will volunteer at more than 20 service agencies across San Antonio.

The inauguration ceremony also embraced UTSA's multicultural student population. More than 300 student musicians performed throughout the event, including a choir, ensembles, orchestra and the Spirit of San Antonio marching band. Several diverse dance groups also entertained the crowd. Additionally, guests viewed an exciting video showcasing UTSA's diverse international student population .

Eighmy's vision to advance UTSA as San Antonio's model urban serving university of the future began the moment he stepped foot on campus as UTSA President on September 1, 2017. Eighmy has outlined a long-term strategy to help UTSA earn National Research University Fund (NRUF) eligibility and R1 (highest research activity) classification from the Carnegie Commission. In the fall, the UTSA President laid out several initiatives to address the highest priorities to advance his vision. He formed task forces and committees to develop innovative strategies to assure UTSA serves students and society in transformational ways. Many of those recommendations have already been set into motion.

— Jana Schwartz