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Early UTSA Planning, Part II: A Bill to Establish UTSA

March 1, 2012

In our first post on the early planning of UTSA, we gave an overview of the arguments made by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce to the Texas legislature for the establishment of a four-year state university in San Antonio. Shortly thereafter, two competing bills were introduced into the Texas legislature to establish a four-year university in San Antonio.

The first bill, co-sponsored by State Senator Joe Bernal and State Representative Frank Lombardino, called for the establishment of a state university in San Antonio with no stipulations about the donation of land or the selection of a site for the new university.  A competing bill, sponsored by State Senators V.E. “Red” Berry and Wayne Connally, contained a provision that would require a minimum donation of 250 acres of land for the new university, which the San Antonio Express News hinted “would limit the site to two offered tracts south of the city –and some have suggested Berry has property in the area.”[1]

Texas H.B. 42 establishing UTSA, 1969.

Eventually, the Lombardino version of the bill, without the provision requiring a 250 acre donation of land, was passed by the Texas legislature.  In a now famous scene in front of the Alamo, Governor Preston Smith signed H.B. 42 establishing UTSA before an estimated crowd of 300 spectators.

Governor Preston Smith and dignitaries at the signing ceremony in front of the Alamo establishing UTSA, 06-05-1969: San Antonio Light Collection, L-4715.

It was the first state bill signed by a governor outside of the capital and marked the birth of the University of Texas at San Antonio.

[1] “Berry sees no cause for all the furore,” San Antonio Express News February 4, 1969.

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