Texas A&M University-Kingsville

A&M-Kingsville, San Antonio community to honor Distinguished Alumni

KINGSVILLE - September 13, 2010

Contact: Adriana Garza
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4979

  Long-time San Antonio columnist and South Texas civil rights leader Carlos Guerra has spent a lifetime advocating for better access to education at all levels. Now, the Texas A&I University alum once again is putting his advocacy into action through a scholarship benefiting primarily first-generation college students from South Texas.

Texas A&M University-Kingsville will honor Guerra, a distinguished alumnus, with a special recognition day and fundraising banquet and roast during the Carlos Guerra Day in San Antonio celebration Sept. 24 at El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel.

 The banquet will help raise funds for the Carlos Guerra Communication and Theatre Arts Scholarship, which has been established at A&M-Kingsville to help students interested in communications and journalism fund their college education. Preference will be given to first-generation university students from South Texas - a 35-county designated area stretching from San Antonio south to the Rio Grande Valley.

 Information, including links to purchase tickets for the event or to make donations to the scholarship fund, is available on the Carlos Guerra Day Facebook page at www.facebook.com/carlosguerraday.

 "We are very excited about this banquet and the opportunity to honor one of our distinguished graduates who has had such a tremendous impact on our region, state and nation," said Dr. Steven Tallant, Texas A&M-Kingsville president. "Carlos Guerra Day in San Antonio is not only a day for all alumni and students of A&M-Kingsville to celebrate and be proud of, it also reflects Carlos' commitment to helping the students of South Texas."

 Guerra gives much credit to his experiences at Texas A&I  for helping him be successful in life. He credits the capable, caring faculty at the university with having an important impact on his life, and the small classes where professors knew him well with helping him grow.

About Carlos Guerra

Guerra is a Robstown High School graduate who was a metro columnist for the San Antonio Express-News for more than 15 years. His work was syndicated in other newspapers throughout the nation. He continues to contribute articles to several national publications. Prior to that, he was a front-page columnist for the San Antonio Light for almost three years before it ceased publication.

Guerra has also worked for several philanthropic foundations on the East Coast and has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Latin America, including Cuba. Guerra was one of the first Americans invited to travel to China after World War II.

He graduated from then-Texas A&I University in 1969 with a degree in political science, history and sociology. He was active with the university's debate team and also wrote a column for the student newspaper, The South Texan. Guerra was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Texas A&M University-Kingsville in 2003.

Guerra was active in civil rights efforts at Texas A&I during the 1960s, when discrimination against Mexican Americans was widespread in South Texas and elsewhere. Guerra called for change not only at Texas A&I, but also in the region, the state and nation.

 He remained active in the state and nation's civil rights movement through the 1980s and was a pallbearer at famed farm labor leader Cesar Chavez's funeral in 1993.

While at Texas A&I, he helped found the Mexican American Youth Organization (MAYO) and Raza Unida Party, two organizations that rose to national prominence in the quest for civil rights for Mexican Americans. He recalls his student days in Kingsville being filled with protests and, at times, upheaval, but he acknowledges that those actions helped change the face of education and forge his character.

 While the struggles of the 1960s opened the doors of opportunity for generations of future college students, Guerra said he doesn't concentrate on ensuring that future students understand the impact of the changes that developed then.

 "Whether current students understand it or not is not important. The fact is they have and will continue to benefit from the many positive changes that those struggles caused, and accordingly, many more will succeed and attain higher achievements because their access has been improved," he said.

 Today, he wants that positive change in education for Mexican Americans and all South Texas students to continue and hopes to help those efforts by establishing the Carlos Guerra Communication and Theatre Arts Scholarship at Texas A&M-Kingsville.

"I got great training from a communications department and speech program that helped me develop more than my public speaking," he said.  "It was in forensics and debate that I learned critical thinking, logic, development of arguments and, most important, how to find the flaws in my own arguments. That has been priceless in my work and it has saved me from a lot of embarrassment, too."

 For more information on the Sept. 24 Carlos Guerra Day in San Antonio banquet or to donate to the Carlos Guerra Communication and Theatre Arts Scholarship fund, visit www.facebook.com/carlosguerraday or call Dr. Manuel Flores, chair of the communications and theatre arts department, at 593-3401 or kfmcf00@tamuk.edu.

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