Volume 79 | Issue 1
January 2011

Tabitha Byrne, University of Texas–San Antonio

Name: Tabitha Byrne
Title: Assistant Director, University Center Programs
Union: University Center
Institution: University of Texas–San Antonio
Location: San Antonio, Texas    
Years in the profession: 8 years in student affairs; 3 years as a union professional

Five Fun Facts

First job: Animal care husbandry assistant at Sea World of Texas

Dream movie role: Catwoman!

Proudest moment: Every day, I feel proud to have the job that I have, the life that I live, and the family with which I was blessed.

Guilty indulgence: Dr. Pepper and “American Idol”

Biggest challenge: Learning how to let go of the small stuff

Q. What is your primary responsibility?
A. My primary responsibility is to advise the University Center Program Council (UCPC) and manage the Roost Game Room and Gallery 23. I currently oversee one full-time program coordinator and 18 student employees.

Q. What would your staff, colleagues, or students say about you?
A. They would say I am totally a blue (for those that know about True Colors); I am very passionate about what I do; and sometimes, I have a hard time of letting go of things I cannot change. I am a light-hearted person who likes to smile but knows how to get down to business when necessary.

Q. What’s one innovation or project of which you’re proud to have helped implement?
A. I was brought to the university to establish the UCPC. It was evident that we needed more frequent and late-night programs for our students in our University Center. To accomplish that goal, I began forming a second programming body on campus that would focus on late-night and weekend programming in the University Center. The UCPC began with just three students and me. Over the past two years, the UCPC has grown to 17 students and conducts more than 60 programs each semester with an average attendance of more than 13,000 students at our events.

Q. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working in the profession?

A.Flexibility is key. For me, learning how to be flexible in an ever-changing environment is so crucial to working in a college union or students affairs. You never know what might come at you from one day to the next, and it takes a special person to be able to handle that with grace. I am still trying to learn that grace.

Q. What is one phrase to live by or bit of advice you might have for future generations of union professionals?

A. “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland. This quote is a little more personal for me, as my father passed away in September of last year, and this sums up my life with him perfectly. However, I think it also applies to us as professionals. We are surrounded with young, impressionable minds every day. We might be that person a student or new professional looks to as a mentor or role model. If we just went around barking orders or looking at things from the administrative perspective, we would separate ourselves from the people who look up to us.  But if we always remember that people are always watching and learning from us, we never know how many lives we could change.

Q. Is there anything else you would like ACUI members to know about you?
A. I am truly passionate about my life and my profession. If you don’t have passion behind what you do every day, then what’s the point of spending your life doing it?