KINGSVILLE— Five Distinguished Alumni and a Rising Star were among ten individuals honored by the Javelina Alumni Association and Texas A&M University-Kingsville during the university’s Homecoming festivities on Saturday, October 27, 2012.

They were recognized at the Distinguished Alumni Luncheon held in the Memorial Student Union Building’s Grand Ballroom, an event that was presented by IBC Bank.

Distinguished Alumni are chosen based on their professional and civic accomplishments and are those individuals that have brought special honor to the university through service and support. The Rising Star Award recognizes graduates of the university who have experienced professional success early in their careers. Special consideration is given to those alumni who have graduated in the last fifteen years.

The recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award are:

Dr. Arturo Almendarez, Class of 1972, of Corpus Christi

Eugene Dawson, Jr., P.E., Class of 1982, of San Antonio

Carl Paul, Class of 1963, of Austin

Robert J. Underbrink, Class of 1983, of Houston

Chief Justice Rogelio Valdez, Class of 1976, of Harlingen

The recipient of the 2012 Rising Star Award is:

E. Annette Hernandez, Ph.D., Class of 1997, 2003, 2007, of Lubbock

Other individuals that ere honored included:

Distinguished Teacher Award - Dr. Bart Ballard, Associate Professor & Researcher, CKWRI & Department of Animal & Wildlife Sciences

Distinguished Researcher Award – Dr. Lori Kupczynski, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership &Counseling Department

Javelina Heritage Award – accepted by LTC Jason Blevins on behalf of the late MAJ Virgil E. Blevins, United States Army

President’s Excellence Award – Lisa Turcotte, Director, Marc Cisneros Center for Young Children.

Almendarez has enjoyed a successful career in academic administration since earning a Master of Science degree, Supervisor’s Certificate and Superintendent Certificate from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. After serving as assistant principal at Falfurrias High School and principal of Odem High School, Almendarez assumed the superintendent role for the Odem-Edroy Independent School District (1984-1992) and then the Calallen Independent School District (1992-2000), a role that he returned to in 2005 and serves in today. His career path has also placed him as the deputy commissioner for Programs & Instruction at Texas Education Agency (2000-2002) and the assistant superintendent for Instruction for the Corpus Christi Independent School District (2002-2005).

Almendarez has also served on numerous education boards and associations including the Citizens for Educational Excellence, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Region II Education Service Center, Texas Association of School Administrators, Texas Association of School Boards, Texas Association of Mid- Sized Schools, State Board of Education Certification, Texas Principals Leadership Initiative and the Texas Business & Education Coalition among many others.

His list of accomplishments are equally impressive, with notable achievements in the implementation of an electronic curriculum management system, the development of a Scope & Sequence in the four major core areas for the Calallen school district, reformatting of the District Continuous Improvement Plan in CCISD and the reformation of class schedules at all high schools and middle schools. In 2010 Almendarez was recognized for his achievements as the Texas Association of School Board’s Superintendent of the Year. He also served one tour in the Vietnam War (1970-71) and received the Bronze Star Medal for his service.