UTPA houses historical marker honoring Emilia Schunior Ramirez
Posted: 05/08/2008
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The first historical marker on The University of Texas-Pan American grounds was unveiled April 26 honoring Emilia Schunior Ramirez, a South Texas educator. More than 40 community members, family and friends attended the celebration commemorating her life.

The marker site was erected near Emilia Schunior Ramirez hall, located off of Sugar Road in Edinburg, which is named after Ramirez and once served as a women's dormitory.

Pictured at the unveiling of the Hidalgo County historical marker honoring Emilia Schunior Ramirez are her children, along with their families, who came to the event at the UTPA campus.
"This is a joyous occasion for the University as we not only celebrate our first historical marker on campus, but also honor the extraordinary life of Emilia Schunior Ramirez, a world-class educator, who made an impact on many lives in South Texas," UTPA President Dr. Blandina Cárdenas said.

Emilia's eldest son, Alfonso Ramirez, who was Edinburg's first Hispanic mayor in the 1950s said his mother was a learner and spent most of her time continuing her education and teaching others.

"It's an honor to have a historical marker for her and it was an honor to have a building named for her years ago," Alfonso said.

Laurier B. McDonald, Hidalgo County Historical Commission member, said the marker signified the 132nd historical marker placed in Hidalgo County since 1936.

"We are really proud to have this marker here because it shows that education is number one in Hidalgo County. It's here on the campus, where much of the work for education of the Valley was started and is still going on," McDonald said. "There are more than 11,000 historical markers in the state of Texas and I'm proud that we now have one more."

Emilia graduated from Edinburg High School in 1919 and married Rafael Ramirez in 1921. The couple had four children. She attended college and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1940 and became a teacher and principal at several Rio Grande Valley schools. At The University of Texas at Austin, her 1950 master's thesis in education examined children of illegal Mexican immigrants in South Texas. She later taught at Pan American College as an assistant professor of Spanish.

A reception and historical exhibit followed the unveiling ceremony at the UTPA College of Education.