In Memoriam: Diana Siedhoff Natalicio, 1939-2021

Diana Natalicio, the long-time president of the University of Texas at El Paso, died on September 24. She was 82 years old.

A native of St. Louis, Dr. Natalicio was a graduate of Saint Louis University, where she majored in Spanish. She earned a master’s degree in Portuguese and a Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Natalicio joined the faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso in 1971 as an assistant professor. She later served as dean of liberal arts and vice president for academic affairs.

In 1988, Professor Natalicio was named preident of the University of Texas at El Paso. She was the first woman to hold the position. She served in that role for 31 years until her retirement in 2019. Her 31-year tenure in the university’s highest office stood as the sixth-longest of any public doctoral/research university president in history at the time of her retirement. It was also the longest term for a female president of a public doctoral/research university or four-year public university at the time.

During Dr. Natalicio’s time as president, UTEP’s enrollment grew from nearly 15,000 to more than 25,000 students. UTEP’s annual budget increased from $65 million to nearly $450 million. The number of doctoral programs increased from one to 22 during this same period.

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