Skip to main content
Diana Natalicio


Diana Natalicio’s focus on excellence in education for all students transformed The University of Texas at El Paso into a national model for Hispanic-serving institutions.

Dr. Natalicio served as the 10th president of UTEP from 1988-2019. Throughout her 31-year tenure, she challenged critics who said it was impossible to open access to higher education to everyone and still offer an excellent educational experience. Dr. Natalicio’s pursuit to make UTEP an exceptional research university while remaining committed to student access and success was relentless. She was a steadfast advocate for students and was dedicated to ensuring UTEP’s growing enrollment reflected the demographics of the surrounding Paso del Norte region.

During her tenure, UTEP’s enrollment grew from less than 15,000 to more than 24,000 students. Hispanic student enrollment increased from 53% to more than 80%. Through research-based student success models, UTEP has seen a 149% growth in degrees awarded during the 21st century and has a retention rate that is higher than the average selective university while staying true to its mission of access and social mobility. UTEP is one of only 20 Hispanic-Serving Institutions with the highest Carnegie research designation and the only one with a 100% acceptance rate. In 2019, UTEP was awarded the Seal of Excelencia, a national certification by Excelencia in Education conferred to institutions with a commitment to serve Hispanic students.