Academic Services Building to be named after UTEP alumnus
REBECCA GUERRERO | February 23, 2012 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
Mike Loya, El Paso native and UTEP alumnus, received the honor of having a building on campus named after him. The building students currently know as the Academic Services Building was renamed the Mike Loya Academic Services Building. The UT System Board of Regents approved the naming decision Feb. 9.
Last October, the university announced that Loya, who earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at UTEP in 1977, had pledged $10 million to support the development of integrated engineering and business education models. Loya also earned an MBA from Harvard University, and said he donated the money in the hopes of enhancing the preparation of students for successful 21st-century careers. He also hopes the funding will help students directly through scholarship programs.
"I'm very proud to be a strong supporter of the school," Loya said. "UTEP was a key to my business career, and I'm happy to be able to give back to the school and help students get a solid start to their careers."
According to UTEP President Diana Natalicio, the renaming of the Academic Services Building is a fitting tribute to Loya as it recognizes his exceptional achievements, generous spirit and commitment to UTEP.
During his career, Loya has worked at Esso Eastern, Tenneco Oil and Transworld. He is now the president of one of the world's largest energy trading companies, Vitol Inc., which spans all of North and South America.
Loya grew up in El Paso and attended Burges High School. He was the first in his family of seven younger brothers and sisters to earn a college degree.
"I wasn't a first-generation college student, but I still think it's a wonderful idea to congratulate him for being from El Paso and making it so big," said Jorge Cardenas, sophomore communication major. "He's definitely a great role model for UTEP students."
Students are benefiting from Loya's contribution through fellowships such as the Anita Mochen Loya Graduate Fellows Program, which provides aid to graduate engineering students. The fellowship supports the practical application of the College of Engineering's initiatives through entrepreneurship and provides start-up funds for projects with technology-transfer potential. The money he donated aims to foster collaboration between the colleges of Engineering and Business.
All of these factors were taken into account when the decision was made to rename the Academic Services Building.
"I think, at first, the name change might be a bit confusing for students," said Alejandra Dominguez, senior psychology major. "But when you look at the bigger picture, it's totally appropriate to recognize a distinguished alumnus for supporting UTEP."
Loya's goal is to help set an example for UTEP students to aim high and achieve their goals. Also, Loya hopes that other alumni will follow his lead and donate to the university.
"My hope is that my example of support will encourage others who have been successful as a result of this great university to also find ways to give back to the school and its students," Loya said.