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Alumni Association hosts distinguished alumni banquet Nov. 9
Posted: 10/19/2000
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Two Rio Grande Valley natives, Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo and Letty Valadez Garza, will be honored Nov. 9 by The University of Texas-Pan American Alumni Association as distinguished alumni for 2000.

Also being honored at the annual Alumni Awards Banquet are prominent Valley business and community leader Kirk Clark, who will receive the Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award; the Romulo D. Martinez family of Mission, who will be recognized as the Distinguished Family of 2000; and UTPA associate professor of counselor education Dr. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Director of Admissions and Registrar David Zuniga, who will be presented the Distinguished Faculty and Distinguished Staff awards, respectively.

The annual dinner, at which the Alumni Association recognizes former students and friends for outstanding personal and professional achievements, will be at 6:30 p.m. in the University Ballroom. Individual tickets for the event, which is open to the public, are $40 and are available by calling 956/381-2500. The reservation deadline is Nov. 3.

Sponsorships also are available at various levels, including Diamond Sponsor at $3,000, Emerald Sponsor at $2,000, Platinum Sponsor at $1,500, Gold Sponsor at $1,000 and Silver Sponsor at $500.

Sponsors receive reservations for the Awards Banquet as well as for the Alumni Association's Faculty Forums, Fiesta Pan Americana and Master Professors Dinner, and recognition throughout the year in association publications and programs.

Arevalo, who received a bachelor's degree in accounting from

Dr. Rodolfo Arevalo
then-Pan American University in 1969, returned to his alma mater in 1998 as provost and vice president for academic affairs.

After leaving PAU, he earned graduate degrees at the University of Michigan and taught at California State University Stanislaus, California State University Los Angeles, San Jose State University, University of Michigan and the University of Texas at Austin. Before returning to UTPA, he spent more than five years as provost and chief academic officer at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kan.

Valadez Garza, a 1978 McAllen High School graduate who earned her bachelor's degree at Pan American in 1983, is known throughout the

Letty Valadez Garza
Rio Grande Valley for her work as a news anchor and reporter at KRGV-TV Channel 5 and as the public affairs officer for the U.S. Border Patrol, where she spent five-and-a-half years before recently returning to KRGV.

For 14 years, she has continued her work on Wednesday's Child, a program featuring children available for adoption, and she has been honored twice, in 1989 and 1991, by the Texas House of Representatives for her volunteer work.

Clark, who entered the family automobile business in his native McAllen after graduating from the University of New Mexico in 1969, is

Kirk Clark
carrying on another Clark tradition in supporting UTPA.

Clark's parents, the late Charles and Dorothy Clark, became renowned art collectors and shared their vast collection with 32 institutions, most notably UTPA and UT-Austin. In appreciation of their generosity, the University renamed its Fine Arts Gallery as the Charles and Dorothy Clark Art Gallery in 1994.

The Alumni Association's Distinguished Family award is presented annually to a family with strong ties to UTPA.

This year, the Association will honor the family of Romulo D. Martinez,

The Martinez family: From left, Cynthia Monaco, San Antonio; Sandra Martinez, Houston; Romulo D. Martinez II and Rebecca Martinez, Mission; Romulo D. Martinez III, San Antonio; Eileen Weber, San Antonio; and David Martinez, McAllen.
a UT-Austin graduate who later served for 11 years as director of career planning, placement, testing and cooperative education at Pan American University, and his wife Rebecca, a 1958 graduate of Edinburg Regional College.

Rebecca Martinez taught in Sharyland until her retirement in 1986, and her husband served as superintendent of the Sharyland Independent School District from 1983 to 1986. The school district recently honored the retired superintendent by naming its fourth elementary school in his honor.

Three of the Martinez children - Sandra, Cynthia and Eileen - are UTPA graduates.

Rodriguez, who has taught at UTPA since 1972, has touched the lives of thousands of teachers and counselors and is considered one of the most respected educators in the Rio Grande Valley.

Anna M. Rodriguez
She earned a master's degree in education from Pan American University in 1973 and a doctor of education degree from the University of Houston in 1976.

At UTPA, Rodriguez is chair of the Department of Educational Psychology and coordinator of counselor education in the College of Education.

Zuniga, who will be presented the Distinguished Staff Award by the Alumni Association, is himself an alumnus of UTPA, earning a bachelor's degree in Spanish and English in 1973 and a master's in education administration in 1980. For the past 20 years, he has served the University as director of admissions and registrar.

David Zuniga

A member of Toastmasters International, Zuniga has won numerous awards in public speaking competitions over the years. He also is a member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Rio Grande Valley Clown Club and plays the guitar and sings in his church choir.

The recipients of this year's awards were selected by the Alumni Association's Awards Committee chaired by Nelinda Villarreal (MEd '89) and Leo Rodriguez (MEd '77). Also serving on the committee are Paula Berkley (BA '99), Dr. Salma Ghanem (BA '87), Rosa Zapata (MEd '73) and Mike Rains ('93).

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