|The University of Texas-Pan American Department of Educational Leadership, formerly the Department of School Administration and Supervision, will honor its alumni at a reception/dinner Thursday, Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the University Ballroom during the institution's 75th anniversary year long celebration. Members of the planning committee include, from left, Martin Peña, Region One ESC education specialist; Roel Peña, Region One ESC associate executive director; Dr. Fred Cunningham, UTPA retired dean; Dr. Velma Menchaca-Ochoa, UTPA Department of Educational Leadership chair; Dr. Gloria Crum, Region One ESC education specialist; and Dr. Roberto Zamora, La Joya ISD superintendent.|
“We would like to honor and recognize our alumni who have made a tremendous difference in the lives of children in our nation, and particularly those in South Texas,” said Dr. Velma Menchaca, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership. “We are hoping to get a high response of school leaders who would like to return to their alma mater for a visit during the institution’s 75th anniversary.”
Keynote speaker for the reception/dinner is expected to be Dr. Felipe Alanis, a UTPA alumnus from San Juan and the state’s first Hispanic education commissioner.
“We are especially pleased to have one of our own alumni, Dr. Alanis, as part of this celebration because he is a product of our program,” Menchaca said.
Alanis received a master’s in education administration and a bachelor’s in political science from UTPA. He went on to obtain a Ph.D. in educational administration from The University of Texas at Austin.
Among the former colleagues and professors expected to attend the reception/dinner are Drs. Col. Carl R. Carlan, Jerry Pulley, Dennis McCabe, Barry Thompson and Fred Cunningham.
Since its inception in the early 1970s, the program has graduated more than 5,000 students. Indeed, Menchaca said the majority of the principals and superintendents in the Rio Grande Valley are graduates of the Department of Educational Leadership.
Carlan, a retired professor who taught school law in the department, said it’s important alumni attend the event to bring together the leaders in education to celebrate the joys of learning and the University.
“This (celebration) is a significant event for all of us who have been privileged to be a part of The University of Texas-Pan American,” Carlan said. “This leadership program over the years has had a positive and significant impact on the schools and the communities in the lower Rio Grande Valley and beyond.”
Last year, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the departmental name change. Since then, department faculty has worked to restructure and align the program coursework to the new ExCET (teacher certification exam) domains and competencies, said Menchaca.
The department also offers the University’s second freestanding doctoral degree, a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership. The program was started in 1993 in cooperation with UT Austin and became a freestanding program at UTPA in 1998.
For more information or to participate in the celebration, contact Dr. Miguel de los Santos or Menchaca at 956/381-3436.