The E. Joseph Savoie Chief Executive Leadership Award, named for UL's current president, is given annually to one college president in the CASE IV Region (Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Mexico).  This year's honoree is Ricardo Romo of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ricardo Romo became the fifth president of The University of Texas at San Antonio in May 1999. He leads one of the fastest growing institutions of higher education in Texas and the nation. Under his leadership, UTSA now is poised to become one of the state’s premier research universities.

Romo has led strategic efforts to enhance both access to education and excellence in scholarship and service at the university.

During Romo’s tenure, USTA’s enrollment has grown nearly 50 percent, and the university has added numerous programs and facilities to enhance student life. He also has implemented new student-support programs designed to help students succeed at earning a university degree. The number of advisers has tripled, and with nearly 29,000 students, UTSA is recognized as a leader in “Closing the Gaps,” a statewide initiative by the Legislature to enroll more Texans in higher education.

A native of San Antonio’s West Side, Romo graduated from Fox Tech High School and attended the University of Texas at Austin on a track scholarship. He served as captain of the track and cross-country team and earned All-American honors in 1966. Romo was the first Texan to run the mile in less than four minutes, and his mile record lasted 41 years. He earned a B.S. degree in education.

He holds a master’s degree in history from Loyola Marymount University and a Ph.D. in history from UCLA. A nationally respected urban historian, Romo is the author of “East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio,” now in its ninth printing (including a Spanish edition). In 1980, Romo returned to UT Austin to teach history before becoming vice provost for undergraduate education. In 2002, President Bush appointed him to the President’s Board of Advisers on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In 2004, former Secretary of State Colin Powell appointed Romo U.S. representative to the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 2005, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio branch, and was reappointed in 2007; he currently serves as vice chair. In 2008, Romo received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Texas Exes Alumni Association.

In 2006, Romo was honored by the UT Austin Friar Society as Outstanding Friar Alumnus. He was elected chairman of the board of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (the largest U.S. Hispanic Chamber organization) for 2006. In 2007, Governor Rick Perry appointed Romo to serve on the Commission for College Ready Texas. He serves on nearly 20 boards, many of them in San Antonio. He is active on several museum boards and is especially proud of his work with United Way.

Romo is married to Harriett Romo, UTSA professor of sociology, director of the UTSA Mexico Center and creator of the Bank of America Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) at UTSA. They have one son, Carlos, who graduated from Stanford University and the University of Texas School of Law. Their daughter, Anadelia, attended Princeton University as an undergraduate, received a doctoral degree from Harvard University and presently teaches at Texas State University.

One of Romo’s most recent honors was the Isabel la Catolica award, the highest award given to non-Spanish subjects, bestowed upon him by King Juan Carlos of Spain.


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