UT Board of Regents contribute $1m to create endowment in honor of Diana Natalicio


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Thursday morning, officials with the University of Texas System Board of Regents announced that they have allocated $1 million to create an endowment to benefit the new Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Education at UT El Paso.

“We are deeply grateful to the Board of Regents for providing the funding to help us recruit and retain and outstanding leadership for the new institute…but more importantly, it secures ongoing support of Dr. Natalicio’s legacy.”

UTEP President Heather Wilson

“She did so much for so many and this is a very fitting honor to recognize her contributions,” Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife said. “I can’t help but think of all the lives she touched. It’s phenomenal.”

The endowment will be used to fund a distinguished directorship of the institute, which is named for the longtime and beloved UTEP president who died in September. The Diana Natalicio Institute for Hispanic Education will be dedicated to studying and implementing systemic changes that will promote greater access to higher education and will serve as a national resource and model for Hispanic student success.

“The Diana Natalicio Institute will reimagine what it truly means to be Hispanic-serving university and develop innovative and evidence-based approaches to education, leadership and policy,” UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken said. “I believe Diana would think this is an appropriate honor.”

As for the new program, in addition to serving as an incubator for novel approaches to student success, the Diana Natalicio Institute will also develop leaders and educators for Hispanic-serving universities and build broad partnerships with other institutions.

Natalicio served as president of UTEP for 31 years before her retirement in 2019 and was instrumental in the university’s ascent to Carnegie 1 research status. She was a steadfast advocate for students and was dedicated to ensuring UTEP’s growing enrollment reflected the demographics of the surrounding Paso del Norte region.

Upon Natalicio’s retirement, her tenure was the sixth-longest of any public doctoral/research university president in history. The UT System Board of Regents appointed Natalicio as President Emerita of UTEP immediately upon her retirement in 2019.

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