We at Humanities Texas are saddened by the passing of Dr. Diana Natalicio on September 24, 2021. Natalicio spent her career at The University of Texas at El Paso, serving as UTEP's president from 1988–2019. Her profound commitment to educational access and excellence transformed the university and the region it serves. In 2011, the Mexican government recognized Natalicio with the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest award given to non-Mexicans. More recently, Time named her as one of their "100 Most Influential People," and Fortune listed her among their "Top 50 World Leaders."
Natalicio served on the Humanities Texas board of directors from 1991–1995. Over the past several decades, she and the university graciously hosted a number of our programs and events, including multiple summer institutes for Texas teachers on the history of the Borderlands (2006), the history of the American Republic (2010), America at war in the twentieth century (2013), and the diverse voices of the American literary tradition (2016).
My colleagues and I send our sympathies to Dr. Natalicio's family and the entire UTEP community. Over the past few days, UTEP has begun collecting memories and condolences from the countless students, faculty, and administrators whose lives she touched. They comprise a remarkable tribute to a visionary leader.