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UTEP Honors Alum Mike Loya at Building Renaming Ceremony

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UTEP Honors Alum Mike Loya at Building Renaming Ceremony

DANIEL PEREZ | March 26, 2012 | UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS

UTEP Honors Alum Mike Loya at Building Renaming Ceremony

The University of Texas at El Paso celebrated the honorific naming of the Mike Loya Academic Services Building on Friday, March 23, outside the building at Hawthorne Street and Schuster Avenue. Loya, president of Vitol Inc., the North and South American arm of the Vitol Group, earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at UTEP in 1977 and his M.B.A. at Harvard two years later. In fall 2011 he pledged $10 million to UTEP to develop integrated engineering and business education models to enhance the preparation of students for successful 21st century careers. Laura Trejo / UTEP News Service

UTEP Distinguished Alumnus Mike Loya used the honorific naming of the Academic Services Building after him as an opportunity to reflect on the first time he made his mark on a public structure.

He shared his story with about 250 friends, family and members of the Miner Nation who gathered Friday morning on the plaza outside the brightly decorated, sun-stoked building at the corner of Schuster Avenue and Hawthorne Street.

Loya earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1977 and went on to become president of Vitol Inc., the North and South American arm of the Vitol Group, one of the world's largest energy trading companies. He made international headlines in fall 2011 after he pledged $10 million to The University of Texas at El Paso.

The guest of honor recalled how he scratched his initials into about 30 blue light poles outside the Pronaf shopping center in Juárez in the early 1960s when he was about 8 years old. He said that many neighborhood children, including a younger brother, followed suit.

The next day his father noticed the damage and instead of taking his sons to the movies, the angry dad drove to a hardware store, bought some paint and made his boys paint over the graffiti.

"I hope some good comes from (the renaming of the building) and it helps the students. Maybe some of the students later on will also be able to give back to the University and have their name plastered on some building, but essentially what (the renaming) comes down to is expensive graffiti," he said with a smile to the laughter and applause of the audience.

The self-effacing Loya helped UTEP President Diana Natalicio cut a ceremonial ribbon. At the same time orange, white and blue balloons were released from the building's roof and an orange cover was raised to unveil the new sign that read "Mike Loya Academic Services Building" in bronze capital letters.

In her introductory remarks, President Natalicio said the honorific naming is a fitting tribute because Loya represents the prototypical UTEP undergraduate – richly talented, highly motivated, hardworking and the first in their family to attend college.

"May this building serve to remind all the students who walk through its doors that excellence is expected, success is attainable, and that even the biggest dreams may not be big enough," she said, adding that Mike Loya is proof positive of all of that.

After UTEP, Loya earned his M.B.A. from Harvard and then began his career in the global energy business. He was honored with the Gold Nugget Award from the College of Engineering in 2004 and was named a Distinguished Alumnus six years later.

President Natalicio praised his parents, Miguel Loya and the late Anita Loya, for recognizing the importance of education for their seven children who earned college degrees and became successful professionals.

She said Loya has a long history of giving back to his alma mater in ways that helped students through scholarships, the recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty, and the development of integrated engineering and business education models to better prepare students for 21st century careers.

Among the UTEP staff, students, faculty and alumni who attended the event was Priscilla Guevara, a sophomore cellular molecular biochemistry major. She was one of the 10 UTEP Century Scholars who helped with the unveiling.

"(Loya's) words serve as encouragement to follow our dreams and to not give up regardless of the obstacles," she said as the audience enjoyed post-event refreshments. "I was glad to be part of the event. It was fun."

The two-story building, 601 W. Schuster Ave., is home to 14 key student service departments, including the offices of Scholarships, Financial Aid, Veterans Affairs, Registrar and Records, and the Graduate School.

UTEP Honors Alum Mike Loya at Building Renaming Ceremony
UTEP Honors Alum Mike Loya at Building Renaming Ceremony

 


The University of Texas at El Paso
College of Engineering
Engineering Building Room A148
500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79968

Email: engineer@utep.edu
Phone: (915) 747-6444
Fax: (915) 747-5437


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