The 80 years of Tec de Monterrey: what were the celebrations of an institution that changed the face of Mexico
Of the 3,000 people who are in the Luis Elizondo auditoriumon the campus of Tec de Monterrey, more than half are wearing the official t-shirt: electric blue, white collar, white letters. Some also wear a yellow ribbon for the youth suicide prevention campaign. While people take their places, on the screens there are images of the Tec, its campuses, its buildings, the sculptures, the iconic places. Music from the 80s plays: one Cindy Lauper stainless insist where girls just want to have fun. There is an air of complicity and joy: of belonging. The Tec celebrates 80 years of history and everyone—everyone—feels a part.
At the right time the lights go out and an animation shows a young man Eugenio Garza Sada sitting at his desk who dreams of founding a technological institute in Mexico that can emulate M.I.T., where he studied. They say that when he began to look for financing to build the Tec, there were those who told him that it was going to be very expensive. Garza Sada did not let himself be intimidated: it would be more costly if the country did not have quality education or if students had to pursue their careers abroad.
Now Garza Sada plants a seed that blooms into a rose and then a forest appears and there the building of the CETEC (Advanced Technology Center for production), which, because of its shape and affectionately, everyone calls “The Napkin Holder.” The audience explodes in applause. Several more follow that building. The campus has so many buildings—and new ones are built every year—that few can give the number precisely: twenty-three. In the animation the façade of the rectory building and the mural “The triumph of culture" of Jorge González Camarena. A new applause arises, but now thunderous. That's the tone of the party: one that seems made to take pride in being part of a family.
Two students enter in synchro and stand in the middle of the stage. They are the ones who will act as masters of ceremony. The entire event is by and for the students.. They thank the authorities, who, every time they are named, get up from their seats to greet. Strikingly, they do not occupy the first row, but are mixed among the students. There is Ricardo Saldivar Escajadillo (president of the Board of Directors), David Garza Salazar (president of Tec), Juan Pablo Murra (rector of Professional and Postgraduate) and Mario Adrian Flores (vice president of the Monterrey Region), who definitely wins the applause meter.
A group of student-dancers form the motto “We are Tec”. Then, each of them reviews the institution's milestones decade by decade: the first 350 students, the first graduate, the first female student, the move to the current campus, the arrival of the first computer in the late 1960s, the printing of women's degrees, the opening of new campuses - today there are 29 - in the other States. On the giant screen, meanwhile, the historical events that happened when Tec was growing are shown. The music goes from Bill Haley at Spice Girlsof the Beatles to Bee Gees. The memory closes with a call for the future to build “a legacy that transcends.” By now, many of the boys in t-shirts are already crying.
Before it goes up Ricardo Saldívar Escajadilloa new video shows the rectors and directors of national and foreign universities greeting the anniversary: the UNAMthe UdeMthe Ibeoamerican Universityhe National Polytechnic Institutealso the University of the Andes, UCLAthe University of Singaporethat of Hong Kongof Zurichof Edinburghof Washington.
Saldívar Escajadillo gives one of the few formal speeches of the event. The screen underlines his words. He says: transcend. He says: thank you. He says: education can do everything. He says: This city cannot be understood without Tec. He says: Tec is about thinking big. He says: Tec is academic excellence.
Now the act is filled with signs and symbols. They sound eight chimes that represent the passage of time and with each one, a student on behalf of those from different Tecs in the country highlights a value of the institution: social commitment, entrepreneurial spirit, global vision, orientation to action. With the last bell time speeds up and a hologram teacher from 2030 talks to a student of the present. Added to the feeling of belonging is that of trusting in the future.
There are new speeches and more presence of students and a pop music ensemble sings for the occasion. Then the national anthem is sung and It's selfie time, the applause and the hugs. When everything is over and the audience begins to leave the auditorium, a group of mariachis guide, under the scorching midday sun, the way to the gazebos where the food stalls have been set up. The rectors and deans are waiting there, who have put on their chef's aprons. They are the ones who serve the chilaquiles to the students. As a family.
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