Cárdenas became the fist woman to lead UTPA in 2004. Since then she has been responsible for a number of initiatives that have distinguished UTPA in the state for promoting student success and access. Today she is guiding the institution to a new and vibrant era in research in fields such as economics, border life, medicine and engineering.
“For her unselfish contributions to the community and education, the MHCC Board of Directors would like to honor Dr. Cárdenas at this coming year’s Noche de Gala with the distinguished Golden Eagle Award,” said Cynthia M. Sakulenzki, MHCC president/CEO. “We encourage the community to come and join us at this formal and fun event with dinner, dancing, live and silent auction and a Las Vegas Style Casino.”
This educator and civil rights advocate began her career as a teacher of migrant pre-school children in her native Del Rio, Texas in 1968. Within nine years she had designed an extensive array of programs that became national models. Her leadership engaged the National Education Association, Children’s Television Workshop, the U.S. Department of Justice and local, state and national efforts to advance voting rights, child and family development and educational equity and excellence.
She completed a doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and in 1977 accepted a presidential appointment as commissioner for Children, Youth and Families in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare where she headed the nations’ Head Start, Child Care, Child Welfare programs and the National Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. In 1980 she was appointed to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights where she served for 13 years.
She also served as the U.S. representative on the governing body of the Inter-American Children’s Institute of the Organization of American States, the Early Childhood Committee of the Organization for Economic and Cultural Development in Paris and at the International Organization for Families at UNESCO, as a delegate to the United Nations World Conference on Women, and on the first U.S. Delegation of Educational Researchers to the People’s Republic of China. Her extensive work with Mexican universities and organizations earned her induction into the Orden del Aguila Azteca, the highest honor bestowed by the government of Mexico on a noncitizen.
For more than 30 years Cárdenas has been a strong, clear and creative voice for expanded educational opportunity. She has won countless state and national awards for her ongoing efforts and leadership to increase the participation and success of underrepresented groups in higher education.
For sponsorship or ticket information call the MHCC at 956/928-0060.