EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Leaders and lawmakers are reflecting on the incomparable legacy of Dr. Diana Natalicio and the leadership she used to enhance access and excellence when it comes to higher education in the Borderland.
Natalicio’s vision has led to individual and generational growth and social mobility.
“She fought against the status quo and stereotypes,” says Texas Senator Cesar Blanco. “She stood up for our region against all odds because she saw the potential of the students in our region. She really believed in a better future for them.”
Dr. Natalicio was instrumental in creating inclusive programming to welcome students and their families who may not be familiar with the university setting. Some of the programs include the Campus Assistance Migrants Program, or CAMP, that helps students and parents from migrant farmworker families acclimate to UTEP.
She also created programs to help end generational poverty for students from some of the most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in the country.
“Some of the starting ‘Upward Bound’ programs that took place at UTEP, and were among the first in the nation,” says El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.
The UTEP campus and academic community flourished under Natalicio that helped the world appreciate the assets of a bi-national and bicultural university.
“The way that she restored not just the physical integrity of UTEP with the beautiful Centennial Plaza and all of the natural flora replanted in that gorgeous arroyo that runs through the center of the campus,” says Congresswoman Veronica Escobar.
“But she restored the intellectual integrity,” she adds.