EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Wednesday marks the end of an era — the last day of Dr. Diana Natalicio’s time as UTEP president.
Natalicio, who held the position for 31 years, announced her retirement in May 2018.
She is UTEP’s first woman president and the longest-serving president in the university’s history.
She was born in St. Louis, Missouri as Diana Siedhoff.
“I was a switchboard operator,” Natalicio told KTSM’s Estefania Seyffert. “The Lily Tomlin of Norburg Manufacturing and answered calls and connected them and after a month I realized this is not possible. I cannot live my life with this box.”
Natalicio attended St. Louis University and graduated with a Bachelors in Spanish. Her first ever experience out of St. Louis, or the country for that matter, was through a Fulbright scholarship to Brazil.
After receiving her Masters degree, she obtained a Ph.D in Linguistics from The University of Texas at El Paso.
“I was married at the time and my then-husband at the time we were looking for two academic jobs which was hard,” said Natalicio, who started off at UTEP as an associate professor and then dean.
45 years later, she remains in El Paso.
Watch the video below for a look back at her 30 years at the helm.
Natalicio will be succeeded by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, who was unanimously appointed by the UT System Board of Regents in April.