Meet the Manager of Hogg Auditorium

Beginning her time on campus as an undergraduate, Cecilia Lopez now serves as the manager of Hogg Auditorium.

Photo Credit: Alejandro Silveyra

Cecilia Lopez is “hooked on Texas.” Lopez came to the 40 Acres as undergraduate student and never left. Having completed an undergraduate degree in government, she later pursued a master’s degree in college and university student personnel administration at UT, and now works for University Unions. Currently, as manager of the Hogg Auditorium, she interacts with student organizations and other University entities that choose to host their events at Hogg, has oversight for both the Hogg facility and the events that are planned and produced there, trains student employees and manages the University Unions’ social media channels. Lopez believes her job gives her a chance to fulfill her desire to give back to UT for all the opportunities it has given her.

Longhorn Life: How did you make the decision to come to UT-Austin as an undergraduate and then graduate student?
Cecilia Lopez: I was an out-of-state student from Virginia as an undergraduate, and initially my plans were to stay local and possibly even commute to school; I will always be grateful for my extended family that lives in Texas who encouraged me to apply and visit campus. I applied, was admitted, and then made my way to Austin for a campus visit. During my visit, I noticed something different about the UT campus from other schools — to this day I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it was the sense of community, energy and the spirit that was evident in the student experience. Honestly, I also just had a gut feeling that this was where I wanted to spend the next four years, and to this day, I've never been so grateful to have trusted my gut in this decision. Seven years later, I am finding myself on the other side of the table as a student affairs professional on the very same campus. 

The fall following my graduation from undergrad, I started graduate school, also on the 40 Acres. My decision to stay came from a sense of wanting to pay it forward — give back for the experiences that this university has provided me since the moment I moved into my room in Jester West as a freshman. Additionally, I also decided to stay and pursue my graduate degree here because of the faculty in the Higher Education Administration program — I appreciated the balance between having faculty that were on the field as practitioners in student affairs as well as those who were conducting research. Also, I found that the opportunities to gain experience in the field while in the program were endless, not only due to my experiences as an undergraduate but also thanks to the mentoring relationships I was able to develop during my undergraduate career. I wanted the opportunity to be able to explore areas in the field that I had not experienced as closely as a student leader during my undergraduate and challenge myself to discover something new along the way — and in a campus like ours, the possibilities to be exposed to various ways in which student affairs plays a role in students' lives were endless.

LL: What about UT's academic culture and school spirit helped you make a decision to stay and work for UT?
CL: When I completed my graduate degree I decided that if the opportunity became available, I wanted to stay and work for UT because I am a true believer of what our institution work towards. I "grew up" here, and I wanted the opportunity to be able to pay it forward. I love this campus, its student body and the colleagues that I now have the privilege to work with. I am energized by constantly seeking new paths to serve students and support their experience on the 40 Acres. The people, the environment, the sense of community and the spirit that's captured not only in an athletic events but in the character of our students, my colleagues and the quality of the work that this campus produces — all were many of the reasons that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to stay.

LL: What about Austin and UT makes them different from other places you've lived and worked?
CL: I love the fact that Austin is a constantly growing city, yet there is a nice balance of the pace of life, the people are friendly and the majority of the time they’re are willing to help. I am used to the fast pace of the Washington, D.C. area, so Austin was a nice change — where no one is running into a metro station to catch the next train all the time. And UT is large; that's what I love about it. Though challenging at first, the size of the campus brings a wealth of opportunity, resources and it is actually possible to find "your" place on campus. The spirit and watching how the campus community comes together both in times of challenge and celebration, is definitely special. When you are a part of the UT family, you feel that you're a part of something greater.

LL: What advice can you give to present and future Longhorns, students and faculty, about making the best out of their time at UT?
CL: My advice is to go outside of your comfort zone. Take on something new. Pursue opportunities that will help you grow professionally and personally. Maximize your potential. Let the 40 Acres impact you, find ways to impact it and do your part to impact the lives of those around you. Your UT experience will be as enriching and impactful as you make it.