History and Founding

UTSA was founded on the hopes and dreams of generations with the promise of social mobility and opportunity for San Antonio’s culturally-rich, predominantly Mexican American population. The university’s foundational roots underpin our ongoing and ever-evolving institutional commitment to positioning Hispanic students, staff and faculty for growth, leadership and success.

Watch our video

UTSA was founded with the intention to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved populations. View this video for some perspectives on UTSA’s origins and development over the last 50 years.

UTSA's Origins

The historical contexts surrounding UTSA’s founding are integral parts of the university’s story. Read more about the political and cultural dynamics that shaped the creation of San Antonio’s largest public institution of higher education.

UTSA’s Federal Hispanic Serving Institution Designation

In 1994, UTSA was designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). The designation broadly defines an HSI as an accredited, not-for-profit two- or four-year institution of higher education whose full-time undergraduate enrollment is at least 25 percent Hispanic. Institutions that receive the HSI designation are eligible to compete for funding under the Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions program.

More History

Visit UTSA’s University Archives for photographs, records, papers and publications documenting the university’s founding and early years.

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