Desert Willow Welcome Center Officially Opens

In every team and department at Northwest Vista College, there are always great stories to tell that show faculty and staff going above and beyond.

While it’s hard to capture every story, we hope to periodically share in this space some of the major accomplishments or projects that are taking place. Members of the executive team will write about important topics that they feel NVC employees should be made aware of.

Let us know about the positive things your area is doing to help students or improve processes by contacting myself or NVC Marketing & Strategic Communications.

– Dr. Ric Baser, NVC President



Debi Gaitan
Vice President of Student Success

It has been more than 10 years since Northwest Vista College has undergone construction of a new building, yet the population on the far Northwest side of San Antonio has experienced tremendous growth.

On February 4, 2019, Vista celebrated the ground-breaking of the new welcome center. At the ceremony last year, Senator Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, said, “At the end of the day, a college needs to create a feeling of community and (NVC’s) welcome center is coming at the right time.”

The project team stayed the course while faced with unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID-19. On September 28, 2020, Vista officially opened the Desert Willow Welcome Center. The modern 50,000-square-foot-center is strategically located on the college’s outer loop, Wender Way, and creates a “front door” to the campus.

The Desert Willow Welcome Center encompasses collaborative spaces and innovative technologies to enhance the student and staff experience. It sets in motion the use of a state-of-the-art center that will provide many of the support services that students depend on throughout their educational journey. Desert Willow Welcome Center is a tremendous addition to our beautiful college campus and existing facilities.

The two-story Desert Willow Welcome Center includes:

  • Welcome & Admissions
  • Advising
  • Testing
  • Financial Aid
  • Business Office
  • Veteran’s Center (a new Veterans Center will be built adjacent to the Welcome Center)
  • Counseling
  • Services to Students with Disabilities
  • Student Records

Currently, prospective students who are going through the admissions process and do not have a computer or WIFI are able to make an appointment to visit the Welcome Center to receive support services onsite. Technology (laptop/hotspot) is provided to students as soon as registration and a payment plan is established.

The Student Success family extends our heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness to the many individuals who have contributed their time, talent and treasures in the creation of the beautiful Desert Willow Welcome Center. A special thank you to the Student Success team members who have returned to campus and have been providing student support services in the Desert Willow Welcome Center.

On-Site Team Members

  • Abel Ruiz-Student Success/Testing
  • Elizabeth “Bits” Murray-Student Success/Admissions-Onboarding
  • Amanda Garcia-Student Success/Enrollment Services
  • Alison Ortiz-Student Success/Testing
  • Shirley Peña-Student Success/Admissions-Onboarding
  • Barbara Arevalos-Financial Aid Office
  • Martha Salinas-Student Success/Vice President for Student Success
  • Dr. Yolanda Reyes Guevara-Student Success/Enrollment Services


  • Baseema Farooq-Student Success/Records & Residency
  • Elena Monsivais-Student Success/Testing
  • Alice Quinones-Student Success/Records & Residency
  • Delilah Salazar-Student Success/Admissions-Onboarding
  • Valerie Acosta Vasquez-Student Success/Admissions-Onboarding

Northwest Vista College plans to have an official grand opening and building dedication as soon as it is safe to host a celebration on campus. We trust that the Desert Willow Welcome Center will be a place of opportunity and success for students and employees for now and into the future.

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