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A Long Tradition of Welcoming New Roadrunners

June 22, 2015

No doubt you’ve seen some fresh faces on campus this summer. It’s likely that some of those belong to the most recent additions to the Roadrunner flock – incoming undergraduates, here to participate in New Student Orientation in preparation for the fall semester.

The current version of orientation is called Roadrunner Roundup. The program aims to ease the transition to college life by helping students register for classes, have an effective academic advising session, learn more about student support services, and develop UTSA spirit and pride.

UTSA has a long history of hosting programs to welcome and acclimate new students to campus. Originally named New Student Conferences, these were first held in the summer of 1975. An August 1975 article in The Bulletin, a monthly newsletter included in the University Publications collection, shares this description:

One graduate and five undergraduate New Student Conferences in July and August gave students a sneak preview of the new campus, the faculty, and each other. About 1,700 students attended the conferences which included registration, orientation and academic advising.

UTSA President Dr. Peter T. Flawn welcomed participants to the first New Student Conference session. “You share an adventurous spirit with those of us who planned UTSA,” Dr. Flawn told the pioneer class. He added, “We have a good university for you. We ask only that you work and if you encounter problems, come to us.”

The conferences ran smoothly; even an occasionally lengthy line wasn’t an inconvenience. As one passerby explained, “It finally looks like a university.”

Dozens of photographs from the Gil Barrera Photographs collection offer an idea of what these early orientations looked like. These images demonstrate that while fashion and technology may have changed, the goal of orientation has stayed the same.

UTSA President Dr. Peter Flawn addresses a group of New Student Conference attendees.

UTSA President Dr. Peter Flawn addresses a group of New Student Conference attendees.

Graduate student worker Cathy Douglass directs traffic.

Graduate student worker Cathy Douglass directs traffic.

Dr. Wayne Magee discusses academic programs with Lynne Crow during an advising session.

Dr. Wayne Magee discusses academic programs with Lynne Crow during an advising session.

A line of waiting students wraps around an architectural model of the not-quite-finished campus.

A line of waiting students wraps around an architectural model of the not-quite-finished campus.

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