Retiring SWTJC President Dr. Ismael Sosa, Jr., said his official goodbye to the board of trustees during his final board meeting Thursday (July 17) in Uvalde.
Sosa spoke to the board following the presentation of a 45-year service pin to the 14-year president by board president Rodolfo R. Flores.
"I want to thank this board for all your support," Sosa said. "You are the main reason this college is in such great shape today and I thank you."
President Sosa also singled out board president Flores for his support. "I have known Mr. Flores ever since he was first elected to the board in 1975," Sosa said. "There is no doubt that Mr. Flores has been a great help to me throughout my career."
Noting that the college has more than doubled in enrollment, from 2,800 students to over 6,000, during his years as president, and the operating budget has increased from $18 million to just over $44 million, Sosa said it has been a "team effort."
"SWTJC has had many successes during my time as president, including being named one of the top ten community colleges in the country," Sosa said. "I have been blessed with a great faculty and staff, and we have great students."
President Sosa fought back tears at the end of his comments when he thanked the "love of my life," his wife, Eunice, who was in the audience.
"Eunice had a great career in education first as an elementary teacher and later as a counselor at Uvalde High School," Sosa said. "She took care of our three beautiful children, the house and me. I probably haven't thanked her enough over the years, but she has been a loving partner and a great first lady for SWTJC."
Following the outgoing president's comments, board president Flores thanked the Sosas for their service to the college.
"We are very grateful for all the work you and Eunice have done," Flores said. "You have always been one unit and on behalf of the board I thank you both."
President Sosa, a native of Cotulla, will officially step down as president on July 31. He started his career at SWTJC in 1968 as a Spanish and English instructor. He served in a variety of administrative positions prior to being named president in 1999.
During his time in Uvalde, Dr. Sosa has been active in a variety of community service activities. He was a trustee with the Uvalde CISD board for nine years including four as president. In recognition of his distinguished record of community service he was named by the chamber of commerce in 2011 as Uvaldean of the Year.
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