KINGSVILLE - The Texas A&I Alumni Association will host their annual homecoming luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 11:30 a.m. at the King Ranch Museum Henrietta Memorial Center, located at 405 N. 6th St. 

Three notable graduates of Texas A&I University will be recognized as Distinguished Alumni by the Texas A&I Alumni Association for having distinguished themselves professionally and through their service. The public is welcome. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online at www.texasaandiuniversity.com. 

Recipients include: Cinthia Salinas (‘85) of Hebbronville. Salinas is a 1985 graduate of the College of Education and Human Performance at Texas A&I University and a former Texas high school teacher. After completing her doctoral work at the University of Texas at Austin she joined the faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder before returning to UT Austin in 2002. Dr. Salinas is the Ruben Hinojosa Regents Professor in Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as the Chair for the department and teaches in the UTeach Urban Teacher certification program and graduate Social Studies Education program area. An affiliate faculty member in the Bilingual/Bicultural and the Cultural Studies in Education program areas, her focus in the social studies includes more critical understandings of historical inquiry in elementary bilingual and secondary education late arrival immigrant ESL classroom settings as well as broader understandings of citizenship. Her work also exams the social studies teachers’ use of histories that are essential to the civic identifies, agency and membership of Latinas/os. Dr. Salinas is the 2012 recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award and the Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education in 2015. She also received the American Education Research Association (AERA), Division K, Innovations in Research on Diversity in Teacher Education Award in 2013. Along with several colleagues at UT Austin, Dr. Salinas was part of the The Tejano History Curriculum Project that accompanied the unveiling of the Tejano Monument on the Texas Capitol grounds in 2013. The Texas A&I graduate has published in journals like Theory and Research Social Education, the Social Studies, the Bilingual Research Journal, the High School Journal and Multicultural Perspectives, and has an co-edited volume, Scholars in the field: The challenges of migrant education, that addresses the needs of migrant children and their families.

Nelda Vidaurri Rodriguez (‘74) of Corpus Christi, with nearly 20 years on the bench as an appellate court judge, a court master, and a municipal court judge, she has earned acclaim for her integrity and ability to dispose of cases promptly and efficiently.

She serves a diverse constituency from the Coastal Bend to the Rio Grande Valley. Her extensive courtroom experience has provided her a window into the dire needs of South Texas’s at-risk youth and families. The Texas A&I University graduate is devoted to creating innovative alliances in support of these communities and has co-founded inner-city martial arts and theater programs to combat escalating drop-out rates while curbing the influence of gangs.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Vidaurri Rodriguez was a life sciences teacher and has since become certified as a master gardener, providing expertise on green and horticultural community projects. The love and support of her family allows her to continually seek opportunities for community investment through challenging and substantive work.

Finally, Ramiro Ram Chavez (’73) is a citizen of Corpus Christi, Texas. He attended Roy Miller High School, where he served as Drum Major of the Battlin’ Buc Band. After graduation, he attended Del Mar College (1965-66), where he majored in Music Education.

In 1967, his life took him to serve his country in the United States Army. He received training in the medic field and became a medic. A short time later he found himself in the battle fields of the Vietnam War. He learned many valuable lessons about the human spirit in the battle fields. He was able to help many soldiers and saved many lives. He also went through the horrific pain of seeing friends lose their lives. After his very honorable service to his fellow soldiers in the United States Army, he returned to Corpus Christi and completed his education in Music Education. He was a 1973 graduate of Texas A&I University, Kingsville.

He became a very successful Junior High and High School band director. Ramiro also became an assistant principal. He then founded the famous “Veterans Band of Corpus Christi”. This band has put Corpus Christi and their leader, Ram Chavez on the map. The band has even marched at a Presidential Inauguration and in Hawaii.

Mr. Chavez is a very decorated soldier and recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Valor, and the coveted Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam. Ram has also received over thirty recognition awards from local, state and national civic associations for his unselfish service to the public. 

Mr. Chavez is still very active with the Veterans Band and participates in many civic functions. He is a great role model and an exemplary graduate of Texas A&I University. 

He is married to Janie Valdez Chavez. His children are: Ram Anthony Chavez (Elizabeth), Viola Chavez-Flores (James), and Rachelle Chavez-Cintron (Jose).

The Alumni of Texas A&I will also award undergraduates with scholarships. Students interested in applying may do so by visiting www.AandIScholars.com.