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The First Commencement, 1974

May 12, 2009

Congratulations to UTSA’s Spring 2009 graduates — all 2,699 of them! Almost thirty-five years ago, on August 18, 1974, UTSA held its first graduation ceremony. Commencement took place at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Auditorium (with the permanent campus still under construction, the first commencement in the Convocation Center wouldn’t occur until 1976).

The graduates numbered 82. UTSA awarded ten Master of Business Administration degrees, one Master of Science degree, and 71 Master of Arts degrees. The first diploma was awarded to Susan Bolado, a 1973 graduate of Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University). President Peter T. Flawn signed the diploma on the back of Texas State Representative Frank Lombardino–a symbolic nod to Governor Preston Smith’s signing the bill creating UTSA using Lombardino’s back for support in 1969 (Lombardino had introduced the legislation).

Below, a few images from this historic day. Click to enlarge.

UTSA’s first graduating class
Mariachis performing at commencement
President Peter T. Flawn (2nd UTSA president) signs the first diploma on the back of Texas State Representative Frank Lombardino.
Dean E.D. Hodo hoods first grad, Susan Bolado

Information for this article was gathered from the UTSA Bulletin, vol. 2, no. 9, September 1974, which features a full description of the day’s events. The Bulletin is available in UA 1.02.01, the University Serials and Journals Collection, part of the UTSA University Publications Collection.

All photos are from the Gil Barrera Photographs of UTSA, 1972-1978, MS 27, Archives and Special Collections, UTSA Library.

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