Friend of the College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences
2015 Jean Claire Turcotte
Jean Claire Turcotte received her bachelors and masters degrees from then Texas A&I University in 1958 and 1985, respectively. She enjoyed a successful career as a teacher (1976-1981) and principal (1981-2003) at St. Gertrude School in Kingsville.
Ms. Turcotte was celebrated as the National Catholic Educators Association - Southwest Region Distinguished Principal of the Year in 1992 and was roasted and toasted as the Communities in Schools honoree in 2010. In recognition of her career achievements and service, Jean Claire was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2008. She was also the featured speaker at the university’s graduation that same year.
Very active in various roles at St. Gertrude Catholic Church, the university and Kingsville community, Ms. Turcotte serves on numerous boards and leadership committees. Furthermore, Ms. Turcotte is noted and especially recognized for her position as Vice President of the Advisory Board for the Marc Cisneros Center for Young Children at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
2014 Gus T. Canales
Gus T. Canales was born to parents, Gus Canales and Ruth S. Canales. He is the great great grandson of Sabos Cavazos, owner of the “Espirito Santo” Spanish land grant situated in Cameron and Willacy counties, granted in the year 1781. His heritage also stems from his grandmother, Rafaela Garcia Canales, whose ancestors were granted the “San Antonio de Baluarte” land grant in 1830, situated in Jim Hogg and Brooks counties, and the Jose Vasquez Borrego “Hacienda de Dolores” land grant in 1767, situated in Webb and Zapata counties. Gus grew up in Premont, Texas until he attended Mount Sacred Heart Military Academy in San Antonio. After graduating from St. Edwards High school in Austin, Gus attended Monterey Tech in Mexico, the University of Texas in Austin and Texas A&I in Kingsville.
Gus and his beautiful wife Pat of 45 years, serve as co-chairs of the South Texas Charity Quail Hunt Weekend. He was honored as South Texan of the year in 2004. He has been a Trustee of various boards for the Christus/ Spohn Health Systems for over 25 years. Gus has also served on the former Alice National Bank and Corpus Christi Frost/Texas Commerce Bank Advisory Board for almost three decades. He serves of the Advisory Board of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute as well as the Management Council of the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management. He currently manages family interests in ranching, farming, and oil and gas activities on land in Jim Wells, Brooks, Webb, La Salle, McMullen, Duval, Jim Hogg, and Kleberg counties.
Gus’ interests are scuba diving and bird hunting with his close special friends and his four daughters: Cami, Dawn, Carla, and Wendy. He is a grandfather to six grandchildren. Gus lost his only son Marc Albino Rafael Canales in 1996. Gus and his family celebrate Marc’s love of ranch rodeos at the Annual Marc Canales Ranch Rodeo held in Premont, Texas held the Saturday before Easter Sunday.
2013 Ray Prewett
Ray Prewett is the face of Texas citrus. Since 1983 he has been President of Texas Citrus Mutual (TCM), and has worked tirelessly every day since to promote the state’s citrus industry.
Ray was born and raised in Oklahoma where obtained a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University, and then studied for a masters degree at Purdue University. Before taking up his position at TCM, he served as an community development specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, executive director of the Texas Rural Development Commission, County and Rural Division Director for the Texas Department of Community Affairs, and then Assistant and Deputy Commissioner Texas Department of Agriculture.
Throughout his career at TCM, Ray has lobbied for the University in general and the Citrus Center and the Texas citrus industry in particular, in both Washington DC and Austin, and works closely with the leaders of the university and college to maximize resources for the center’s research activities. He is always on alert for opportunities to find funding and for threats on the horizon. He has established an amazing network of political contacts at federal and state level, and works closely with his counterparts in Florida and California. Ray regularly attends the meetings of the Citrus Center’s Advisory Committee as a guest, making significant contributions to its deliberations.
When he is not working on citrus issues, he is busy with vegetable, food safety, agricultural insurance and immigration issues. Throughout his career, he has been supported by his wife, Jean.
Ray has been a Friend of the College for many years, and it is appropriate to formally recognize him as such.
2012 Bruce Roberts
Bruce Roberts was born and raised in the Texas Coastal Bend, graduating from high school in Corpus Christi. He attended Texas A&I University, where he received a degree in Business Administration.
Mr. Roberts has always loved the outdoors and spent lots of time with his family enjoying the hunting and fishing opportunities for which south Texas is famous. His interest in the outdoors intensified in high school when he became interested in bird dogs. He began spending afternoons after school and weekends helping train bird dogs for dog trainers in the area. Because Mr. Roberts developed such a passion for the outdoors, he decided to put his Business Administration degree to practical use by starting his own company that provided management consulting to businesses related to the hunting industry. He has parlayed his love of the outdoors into a successful business that permits him to use his Business Administration and Management education in a career that allows him to spend significant amounts of time outdoors working with wildlife and other hunting and fishing enthusiasts.
Mr. Roberts has always been a good friend to the Dick and Mary Lewis Kleberg College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Human Sciences. Whenever, the College needs help entertaining VIPS or other guests, he always steps up and lends a helping hand. Bruce is also very involved in the research accomplished by the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute Science Team because he cooperates with the numerous research projects conducted by the scientists and often initiates some of these projects himself. Additionally, Bruce has been an important supporter of the South Texas Charity Quail Hunt every year by providing accommodations for participants as well as bird dogs and hunting rigs during the weekend hunts. Bruce, his wife Elizabeth and their 3 daughters reside in Calallen.
2011 Jimmie Steidinger
Jimmie Steidinger is a leading South Texas agriculture producer and has successfully attributed to a lifetime of learning and willingness to help others.
In the early years he'd work his fields all day then go rough-neck in the oil field to pay his farming bills and buy farmland. He quickly developed a reputation for having the finest crop of whatever he was growing. That came from hard work and always doing his homework, learning from other farmers, research and extension service, and Citrus Center. Frugality and hard work eventually led to the purchase of several farms, including the JIMBAR Ranch in the Texas Hill Country.
Throughout it all, Jimmie and his wife Barbara have been givers, always ready to help others. They started a scholarship fund in the 1990's to help disadvantaged students attend Texas A&M - Kingsville University. In 2010, they made additional donations to university scholarships to support graduate students from south Texas at the Citrus Center. An active member of countless boards and committees (including the Citrus Center Advisory Committee where he was past chair), he has provided tremendous help in support of the Citrus Center, and was key to the success in getting funding for the new Citrus Center building. He is a true "Friend of the Center and the College".
2010 Jerry F. Underbrink, DMV
Jerry F. Underbrink, DVM, is the owner and operator of Animal Medical Clinic in Kingsville, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1972 and earned his DVM in 1974. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Underbrink has become one of our college’s best friends as he supports us in many important ways:
- Serves as attending veterinarian for A&M-Kingsville’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
- Devotes extensive time investigating research and animal health questions in an effort to provide our animals the best care possible and ensure adherence to laws
- Tenaciously promotes higher safety standards and training for TAMUK personnel involved in animal research
- Makes himself available to assist with unusual research requests, such as implanting radio transmitters in doves and snakes, collecting rumen fluid, assisting female deer with difficult pregnancies, fixing broken legs of captive deer fawns
- Understands the incredible potential of our college programs and devotes his time to improving those animal science and wildlife programs
2009 Dave DeLaney
Mr. Dave DeLaney is the Vice President and General Manager of Livestock and Ranching Operations for King Ranch, Inc. Since his arrival in Kingsville over five years ago, Mr. DeLaney has become one of our College’s very best friends, supporting our College in many important ways:
- Serves on the Management of Council of KRIRM
- Serves as an Adjunct Professor
- Serves on graduate student committees
- Supports a wide array of research in wildlife, equine, ranch management, ruminant nutrition, and range with money, time, and access to the King Ranch
- Hosts dinners for students and faculty
- Supports fundraising activity with money, time, and access to the many amenities of the King Ranch
- Allows access to the Ranch, helping with faculty & student recruiting
- Counsels University leadership
- Allows the college to use the King Ranch as a teaching laboratory
- Lobbies in Austin for our benefit
- Helps in student recruiting
- Coordinates and hosts many tours of King Ranch
- Allows us to use King Ranch facilities & resources for short courses
- Hosts interns and Hire’s students
- Represents us to industry organizations
- Is an ambassador for our college and the University
- Presents innovative & relevant ideas for research, clearly focused on applied management
- Serves as a liaison for the College to King Ranch Inc. and its family members
His generous spirit of cooperation and his willingness to be a supporting partner is unmatched and greatly appreciated by faculty, staff and students of our college.
This page was last updated on: January 4, 2016