Borderzine remembers Diana Natalicio

Portrait of late UTEP President Diana Natalicio with dates 1939-2021

Courtesy UTEP

Diana Natalicio, who served as UTEP’s president from 1988-2019, left an unparalleled legacy on higher education in our region. Her death on Friday at age 82 left UTEP and El Paso grieving, but also celebrating her countless contributions to our community.

Dr. Natalicio was an important supporter of Borderzine, whether it was using her influence to provide new computers to our newsroom laboratory or giving generously from her personal funds to support the efforts of our students.

We thought it appropriate to share some of the stories that Borderzine students have produced over the years about Dr. Natalicio. These stories touch on a few key points of her legacy.

President Natalicio reflects on her tenure at the university

UTEP President Diana Natalicio. Photo credit: Daniel Mendez

As she began her final semester as UTEP president, Dr. Natalico reflected on her career with Borderzine writer Daniel Mendez.

El Paso must enhance prosperity to retain its best college graduates
Nearly 8,000 5th and 7th graders visitUTEP in a field trip called Pick Your Dream. (Anoushka Valodya/

Nearly 8,000 5th and 7th graders visited UTEP by 2012 for a program called Pick Your Dream. (Anoushka Valodya/

Natalicio frequently advocated for better aligning El Paso economic development efforts with the talent being produced at UTEP. In 2012, Borderzine reporter Anoushka Valodya wrote about emerging plans crafted by Natalicio and others to offer more opportunities in El Paso for UTEP graduates.

Keeping students and staff safe as violence mounted in Juárez
La Presidenta de UTEP, Diana Natalicio, y el jefe de la Policía de UTEP, Cliff Walsh, en la conferencia de prensa del 23 de agosto. (Raymundo Aguirre/

La Presidenta de UTEP, Diana Natalicio, y el jefe de la Policía de UTEP, Cliff Walsh, en la conferencia de prensa del 23 de agosto, 2010. (Raymundo Aguirre/


UTEP’s proximity to Ciudad Juárez, and the deep ties many students and staff had to our sister city, meant that the university felt the impact of rising drug violence. In 2010, a bullet fired from south of the border hit a building at UTEP. Natalicio and other leaders responded quickly with plans for keeping the campus safe, Borderzine writer Jago Molinet reported.

 Borderzine alumni reflect on Natalicio’s impact

Social media has been filled with tributes for Dr. Natalicio expressing gratitude for her influence in the lives of so many graduates. Here are some reflections shared on Twitter by Borderzine alumni.

UTEP Remembering Dr. Natalicio

Members of the UTEP family and the public are invited to attend The Celebration of Life of Dr. Diana Natalicio, President Emerita

6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021
Centennial Plaza, UTEP Campus

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