CORPUS CHRISTI — Texas A&M University-Kingsville President Dr. Steven Tallant and Art Professor Santa Barraza were among those honored during the 16th annual Community Leaders Award Banquet on Wednesday night, Feb. 15, at the Omni Bayfront Hotel.
Tallant was presented with the “Humanitarian Award” by the civil rights organization for his efforts to increase university scholarships for South Texas students and for his willingness to work with Hispanic Civil Rights groups in an effort to promote the Hispanic Culture.
“We must continue to work hard to ensure that all students of South Texas have an opportunity to seek a higher education,” Tallant said.“We at Texas A&M-Kingsville understand the mission of our university and the important role it plays in our South Texas community.
Barraza was presented with the inaugural “Suenos, Cultura y Vida (Dreams, Culture and Life) Award” for her continued work in promoting the arts not only in Texas and the nation, but nationwide. Barraza was the curator of the “Cultura y Vida” Tejano Art Show organized by LULAC and the AMK, Communications and Theatre Dept. Part of the exhibit was on display at the Omni Bayfront Hotel. The exhibit officially opened Friday, Feb. 17, at the Corpus Christi Art Center. It will run through March 13. The exhibit features more than 30 of the best Tejano Artists.
Barraza, who has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and Penn State University, Kingsville was very rewarding. “It’s good to be home,” she said. Barraza will teach a course in Hispanic and Tejano art in Austria this summer.
John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System, served as guest speaker. He stressed the importance of a good education for the youth of the Coastal Bend.The former state legislator pointed to advances being made at both Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“The things that are happening right here in South Texas are amazing,” he said.
Eagle Ford Shale, Gulf Coast ports, agriculture, livestock, oil and gas are all milestone achievements for the Coastal Bend, but none are as important as producing qualified college graduates to helm the next successful industries, he said.
“The future of this state is south and west of I-10,” he said to large applause.
More than 300 people attended the banquet organized annually by the League of United Latin American Citizens Council No. 1 to recognize outstanding leadership.
“We’re here to honor people who not only show a great compassion for the community, but embrace the mission of LULAC: Education and scholarships,” Council President Nick Adame said.
This year’s honorees included local teachers, doctors, government officials, artists, a university president, and entrepreneurs who serve the community they love.