UTEP President Diana Natalicioâ€™s role in the enhancement of El Pasoâ€™s stature as one of the countryâ€™s marquee destinations has been recognized by Visit El Paso, an organization that oversees the cityâ€™s destination marketing.
President Natalicio has been named the recipient of Visit El Pasoâ€™s Spirit of Amigo Award, which recognizes a person or organization that has profoundly and positively impacted the image of El Paso.
The award will be presented Thursday, May 9, 2019, during the organizationâ€™s 16th annual National Travel and Tourism luncheon at the Judson F. Williams Convention Center. The event is held annually in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week.
UTEPâ€™s Hall of Fame basketball coach Don Haskins is a previous recipient of the award.
â€śI am pleased to accept this award on behalf of UTEPâ€™s 25,000+ talented and hard-working students, and the faculty and staff who have enabled them to attain their highest aspirations,â€ť President Natalicio said.
â€śUTEP plays a major role in the development of the surrounding region, educating the next generation of leaders, conducting top-tier research that has earned us national recognition as a Carnegie R1 university, and contributing in a variety of ways to the regionâ€™s prosperity and quality of life. With its mission to continue spreading the word about this regionâ€™s many rich assets and opportunities, Visit El Paso complements our successful efforts to attract outstanding faculty and staff to this region. I thank Visit El Paso for this recognition and for its support of The University of Texas at El Paso.â€ť
President Natalicio was selected for the award based on her work to enhance the Universityâ€™s stature and the positive outcomes it has yielded for the rest of the Paso del Norte region, said Bryan Crowe, general manager of Visit El Paso.
â€śWe are honored to recognize such an influential leader,â€ť Crowe said. â€śDr. Natalicio has not only put UTEP on the map but has been a vital ambassador for El Paso and the region. When selecting our recipients each year, we look for individuals who have embraced El Paso and its heritage, culture and people and go the extra mile to elevate the city to everyone they come in contact with. It only seemed fitting that we select Dr. Natalicio as this yearâ€™s recipient for her dedication to the University and to El Paso.â€ť
President Natalicio announced in May 2018 that she will retire after 31 years in UTEPâ€™s top leadership role. She was named UTEP President in 1988. Her tenure makes her the longest-serving current president of a public doctoral/research university in the country.
In her time at UTEP, she has guided the University to national prominence as a research institution, all the while being relentless in ensuring access and affordability for the student population that it serves.
In 2019, UTEP was designated as an R1 top tier doctoral university with very high research activity in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. UTEP is one of only 130 (4.5%) universities among the 2,883 four-year higher education institutions across the U.S. to earn this distinction.