UTEP President Receives Conquistador Award from City of El Paso
Last Updated on August 06, 2019 at 12:00 AM
Originally published August 06, 2019
By UC Staff
UTEP President Diana Natalicio has received the City of El Paso’s highest honor for her significant contributions to the community throughout her 31 years in the campus’ highest leadership position.
President Natalicio was named a recipient of the Conquistador Award during the El Paso City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at City Hall. The Conquistador Award is a symbol of appreciation bestowed upon pillars of El Paso who have demonstrated commitment to the region through their work. Mayor Dee Margo also proclaimed Aug. 6 Dr. Diana Natalicio Day in El Paso.
“I’m very grateful to the City of El Paso for this Conquistador Award recognition,” President Natalicio said. “All of us at UTEP understand the critical role that we play in shaping this region’s future. We are especially proud of our progress in achieving national R1 recognition for the excellence of our research and educational programs, while successfully working closely with our many community partners to raise the educational aspirations and attainment of all young people in this region. UTEP offers a top-tier university education at one of the lowest out-of-pocket costs in the U.S., and is poised to continue fostering the social mobility of this region’s families as well as our shared prosperity and quality of life.”
City leaders said President Natalicio was selected for the award based on her record of public service for an extended time. The award is a reproduction of the bronze bust of “Don Juan de Oñate — El Adelantado,” an artistic sculpture created by John Sherill Houser.
“The City of El Paso is proud to present Dr. Diana Natalicio with the prestigious Conquistador Award in appreciation of her commitment to UTEP and higher education, providing opportunity through access and excellence for our Paso del Norte region,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said.
The award is the latest honor President Natalicio has received throughout the past year and embellishes this chapter in her higher education story. In May 2018, she announced that she would retire after 31 years as UTEP’s leader. 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 deftly 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, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education designated UTEP as an R1 top tier doctoral university with very high research activity. UTEP is one of only 131 (4.5%) universities among the 2,883 four-year higher education institutions across the U.S. to earn this distinction.