Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Hugo Berlanga, Servando Hinojosa To Receive Tejano Heritage Awards

KINGSVILLE - September 23, 2008

Contact: Julie Navejar
julie.navejar@tamuk.edu or 361-593-2590

Former State Representative Hugo Berlanga and Alice artist and educator Servando Hinojosa will receive the 2008 Tejano Heritage Awards as part of this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month observance at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. The two will be honored during a banquet at noon Thursday, Oct. 9, in the university’s Memorial Student Union Building Ballroom B.

Berlanga will receive the Tejano Service Award, which annually goes to an alumnus who has contributed to the Tejano and Hispanic heritage in the military, government or civic endeavors. Hinojosa will receive the Tejano Heritage Award, which annually is awarded to an alumnus who has promoted the Tejano culture through art, literature or public appearances. Berlanga resides in Corpus Christi while Hinojosa makes his home in Alice.

“We are very proud of these two men,” Homero Vera, director of the Kenedy Museum and a member of the A&M-Kingsville Tejano Heritage Committee, said. “Hugo Berlanga certainly left an impact as a politician representing South Texas and continues to do so as a political and business consultant. Servando Hinojosa is simply a legend among South Texas artists when it comes to the Tejano genre and his work has become a staple of Tejano books as well as permanent art displays in South Texas.”

Hinojosa received a bachelor’s degree in art from Texas A&I University in 1965. He returned to earn his master’s degree in 1976. He has taught art in the Alice Independent School District for more than 30 years. Professionally, he is an illustrator, sculptor, muralist and portrait artist.

His art work has been on the cover of books such as Llanos Mestenas by Agnes Grimm in 1968, Stories That Must Not Die in 1977 and Across the River by former Texas A&I professor Dr. Juan Sauvegeau in 1978.

Among his more current work were the drawings he did for Andres Tijerina’s classic book Tejano Empire in 2005. In that book he illustrated many of the scenes typical of life in the Tejano ranchos in South Texas from 1836-1886.

Hinojosa and Alice artist John Farias recently completed a 7X12-foot plate metal sculpture titled Alicia y Juan, featuring a couple dancing traditional Tejano style circa 1850, Hinojosa said. The sculpture is in downtown Alice on the corner of San Diego and Almond streets.

Berlanga earned his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&I in 1973. He went on to a distinguished career in politics and became the state’s first Hispanic to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Texas House of Representatives. He represented District 34, which included much of Nueces County north of Kingsville, starting in 1975. He served in the powerful Ways and Means Committee in his first term and later served on the Elections Committee and Chair of Calendars Committee. In 1983, he was appointed Speaker Pro Tempore, serving in that capacity until 1990. In 1993, he was named Chair of the Public Health Committee. His stature in Austin grew with each term and in 1995 he was elected Chair of the Mexican American Caucus for the Texas Legislature.

Among the dozens of bills he sponsored was a major health care bill authored during the 74th Legislature in 1995. The massive Medicaid reform bill virtually drew the endorsement of every interested party – hospitals, insurance providers and advocacy organizations. The bill included a rural health care package to enhance access to rural under-served areas as well as refinement to the Medical Practice Act and the creating of a statewide health care data bill.

Berlanga retired from the House of Representatives in 1997, and began his consulting business – Berlanga Business Consultants (BBC) – which specializes in providing legislative consulting services to the health care community, works with the telecommunications industry, municipalities, port authorities and other groups.

He has won numerous awards during his career, included being named to Texas Monthly Magazine’s “Ten Best Legislators” in 1993, 1995 and 1997.

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