Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Three to Receive Distinuished Alumni, Rising Star Honors During Homecoming 2010 Celebration

KINGSVILLE - October 06, 2010

Contact: Adriana Garza
adriana.garza@tamuk.edu or 361.593.4979

Three alumni of Texas A&M University-Kingsville will be honored at noon Saturday, Oct. 16, when the Javelina Alumni Association meets for its annual Homecoming Luncheon at the Grand Ballrooms in the Memorial Student Union Building.

Distinguished Alumni are:
Edward J. Preston, Jr., Class of 1962, of Kingsville
Janell Kleberg, Class of 1974, of Kingsville

The Rising Star Award goes to:
Dr. Fidel Hernandez, Class of 1999, of Kingsville

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 15 years.

About the Distinguished Alumni and Rising Star Award recipients

Col. Preston

Colonel (Ret.) Edward J. Preston Jr. has dedicated his life to service. With a career that spans nearly 40 years of active duty in the United States Army, Preston is a veteran of both the Korean War and the Vietnam War—during which he served multiple tours. He has earned numerous military honors, including the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, four awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Purple Heart and multiple Air Medals with Valor devices. He earned the rank of full Colonel in 1986. While on active duty he earned MBA and MA degrees.

After his retirement in 1993, the San Benito native earned a teaching certificate and taught JROTC, Government and Health at Academy High School, the King Ranch high school, until 1998. In 2008, a scholarship bearing Preston's name was established in his honor. The Texas A&M-Kingsville Col. Edward J. Preston Jr. Scholarship provides funds to a freshman or sophomore military science cadet. Additionally, he has been an active member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Sarita since 2004.

He also has served as a devoted member of the Javelina community. He earned his bachelor’s in business from Texas College of Arts & Industries and Regular Army commission in 1962 and has supported the Javelina Alumni Association for nearly half of a century. A fixture at all home football games, Preston was the driving force behind the reinstatement of a Javelina football tradition—the firing of the university’s ROTC Howitzer cannon after every Javelina touchdown. Preston helped to spearhead the effort to get the cannon in working order. Additionally, he serves as dedicated volunteer for the Javelina Alumni Association.

Janell Kleberg

Janell Kleberg has been a tireless advocate for the promotion and historic documentation of Kingsville, Kleberg County and the King Ranch for 40 years. A 1974 graduate of Texas A&I, Kleberg has worked for the family business—King Ranch Inc.—in marketing and advertising for the American Quarter Horses and Santa Gertrudis Purebred Cattle. Through skillful photography, Kleberg has documented the ranching traditions of the King Ranch in South Texas, Argentina, Australia and Brazil. She is author of Waiting for Daylight: King Ranch: Images from the Past and author/producer of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville production of “Tales of the Wild Horse Desert”—a fundraiser that generated $40,000 for the university’s music and theatre departments.

Kleberg is a trustee of the Texas Wildlife Association Foundation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Upland Game Board and currently serves on several advisory boards including the Dolph and Janey Briscoe Museum and the Santa Gertrudis Independent School District. A constant advocate for the promotion of Kingsville, Kleberg authored legislation establishing the Kingsville Visitor Department. Kingsville city commissioners appointed Kleberg to the Kingsville Visitor Department board in 1979—a post she held for 10 years. Additionally, she has worked to preserve the history of Kingsville. Kleberg has worked with the Texas Historical Commission on the Texas State Registered Historic District designation for the original Kingsville Town and Improvement Company, founded by Henrietta King, and helped secure the National Trust Historic Marker listing for the first school in Kleberg County, designed and funded by Henrietta King.

Her service to A&M-Kingsville includes four years serving as a board member of the Texas A&I University Foundation from 1979-1983, lobbying for the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, raising funds to commission and dedicate a statue of the late Honorable Texas Congresswoman Irma Rangel and chairing the A&M-Kingsville capital campaign, which raised $40 million for the university. In 2006, the Tio and Janell Kleberg Wildlife Research Park was dedicated in the Klebergs' honor.

Fidel Hernandez

Dr. Fidel Hernandez is not only a valuable researcher in the university’s Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, he is also an alumnus. Hernandez currently serves as the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Endowed Professor in Quail Research. He began work at the university in 1996 as a graduate research assistant in the department of animal and wildlife science. He earned his doctorate in wildlife science from A&M-Kingsville/Texas A&M University in 1999.

Hernandez is an accomplished researcher, having co-authored one book, five book chapters, nearly 35 refereed journal articles and more than 70 articles. He has earned recognition and acclaim for his expansive knowledge of quail population and management. He has presented his research to various regional and international audiences and learned societies. Hernandez has secured grants for his research from national and state agencies, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Hernandez is active in various professional societies and has served as secretary, vice president and president of The Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society. He also is a member of The Wildlife Society, the Society for Range Management, Quail Unlimited and the Ecological Society of America. 

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