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What Ever Happened to the UTSA Yearbook?

July 10, 2009

Today we take a look at the intriguing history of the UTSA yearbook.

Front cover of Horizons, UTSA’s first yearbook, 1990

UTSA’s first yearbook, Horizons, debuted in 1990. It was the production of the Yearbook Organization, a registered UTSA student organization. The yearbook originated in 1989 as a proposal by the Yearbook Committee of the Student Representative Assembly. The yearbook’s first Editor-in-Chief was Cindy Ledwig, who had served as the Historian of the Student Representative Assembly. The committee had conducted a survey that revealed that 72 percent of UTSA students believed that UTSA should institute a yearbook. The name “Horizons” was chosen by the Yearbook Organization in a naming contest. The name was entered by Tito Sepulveda, a senior engineering student.

The hopeful theme of 1990’s yearbook was “The Start of Something Big.” The pages of the yearbook seem electrified with the excitement of its creators. A note from the Editor-in-Chief begins, “Throughout the past 12 years, students have attempted to put a university yearbook together, but did not prove successful. We are proud to say, that we finally did it in 1990. This is UTSA’s first yearbook.” The staff comprised no fewer than 21 members, listed in the back of the book along with about as many “other helpers.” These back pages featured production photos, formal and candid group shots, photos of the yearbook’s two faculty advisors, and a letter from the editor.

The yearbook is 184 pages long. It features photos of athletic teams, student organizations, Greek societies, and individual students, as well as the usual candids around campus of student life and events like Best Fest. It also includes a brief history of UTSA, an essay about San Antonio, a list of honorees at graduation, and other features.

Click to enlarge. L-R: 1991’s Horizons, 1992’s untitled yearbook, 1993’s Chaparral, 1995’s Chaparral

Horizons triumphantly returned the next year with the theme “The Dream Is Alive.” With Editor-in-Chief Chris Hanna running a staff of 11, the yearbook is again 184 pages long and full of the same types of group and individual photos as in the previous year’s yearbook, but has expanded to also include profiles of academic departments and even Parking Controllers. This time, the yearbook introduces photos of dorm life: group shots with captions such as [Chisholm Hall’s] “Two West ‘The Danger Zone,'” “One East ‘Mad Dawg-z,'” and “Four West ‘Flaming Flamingoes.'” Individual faculty and staff photos are included, as are lists of University Life Award winners and students selected to Who’s Who.

Volume three came the next year (1992) with a theme–“Seize the Day / Carpe Diem”–but no title on the cover. The title page suggests that they’ve changed the title to Roadrunner (though with the campus newsletter’s having the same title since 1973, it’s not surprising that this one didn’t seem to stick). The yearbook is 144 pages long. There is no mention of student organizations (athletics and Greeks excepted), but it does include photos of much of central administration and their staffs.

The 1993 yearbook returned with a new title, the Chaparral, and a theme of “Breaking All Boundaries.” The yearbook has two co-editors, who do include the usual Letter from the Editor(s), and professor Dan Kaderli continues as faculty advisor. The yearbook is smaller in dimensions than previous years’, but back to 200 pages and a little fuller. It seems that the yearbook has been revived.

In 1994…no yearbook.

The 1994-1995 academic year saw many 25th anniversary celebrations, and probably to commemorate this silver anniversary, the yearbook returned in 1995 as the Chaparral with the theme of “Talking the Silver” (a nod to novelist Carlos Fuentes’ address at the Silver Anniversary Convocation in which he referred to the Mexican expression Hablando en Plata, meaning “to speak the absolute truth”). This year’s Chaparral opens with 13 pages of what appears to be public relations material about UTSA and its campuses. The yearbook goes on to include the usual candid shots of students and individual portraits, photos of athletic teams and events, and other features. It also includes, on p. 174, an editor’s letter and a letter from perennial advisor Dan Kaderli. The editor this year, David Jenkins, writes of the grueling experience of putting together the yearbook, but concludes, “Despite all the troubles I’m still planning to be on Yearbook for the ’95-’96 year and would like to invite all that have the guts to take on the job.”

1995, 1996, 1997…no yearbook.

Front cover of the Chaparral, UTSA’s last yearbook, 1998

1998 saw the return of the Chaparral. Page numbers end at 30, but the yearbook seems to run about 75 pages. There are no portraits of students. A handful of student organizations are represented, as are athletics, but the bulk of the yearbook is comprised of photographs of buildings, parking lots, and slightly blurry group shots of UTSA staff. The remainder of the yearbook comprises advertisements and Taylor Publishing Company’s “Yearzine ’99,” with vivid color shots of popular TV shows, music acts, sports figures, and current events.

The yearbook’s appearance is explained by veteran faculty advisor Dan Kaderli in his Letter from the Advisor: “I sincerely hope that you will enjoy this edition…For about the last year prior to completion, [editor-in-chief] Rachele [Di Tullio] was the only UTSA student working on the book. I doubt that many yearbooks have been arranged and produced almost exclusively by one student participant…”

This yearbook, with a theme of “Building Momentum,” would be the last UTSA yearbook.

Do you know what happened to the UTSA Yearbook? Did you ever serve on the yearbook staff, or participate in the creation of the Yearbook Organization? Please contact the University Archivist!

All items from the UTSA Yearbooks collection, UA 2.03. Digital scans by Rosemarie Rodriguez, Collections Assistant.

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