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Javelina Alumni Association honors Texas A&M-Kingsville Alumni with awards

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This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Armando Hinojosa ’66; Dr. Linda Mora ’68; and I.J. “Chip” Berthelot II ’82. This year’s Rising Star Award recipient is Josh Ruiz ’08, and the Blue and Gold Service Award will honor longtime university staff member Fred Nuesch.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Armando Hinojosa ’66; Dr. Linda Mora ’68; and I.J. “Chip” Berthelot II ’82. This year’s Rising Star Award recipient is Josh Ruiz ’08, and the Blue and Gold Service Award will honor longtime university staff member Fred Nuesch.

KINGSVILLE — The Javelina Alumni Association of Texas A&M University-Kingsville has announced the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, as well as the recipients of the Rising Star Award and the Blue and Gold Service Award. 


This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Armando Hinojosa ’66; Dr. Linda Mora ’68; and I.J. “Chip” Berthelot II ’82.


The Distinguished Alumni Award, which is the association’s most prestigious honor, recognizes alumni who have experienced an abundance of success professionally and personally, through which they have positively represented and brought honor to the university. 


This year’s Rising Star Award recipient is Josh Ruiz ’08, and the Blue and Gold Service Award will honor longtime university staff member Fred Nuesch.  


About the Award Recipients


Armando Hinojosa is a renowned artist most commonly known for his many sculptures, including the Tejano Monument located on the south lawn of the Texas State Capitol. Hinojosa’s art is also recognized on our campus at Texas A&M-Kingsville with the Dr. Frank H. Dotterweich and Coach Gil Steinke statues. Most notably, he is the artist behind the “Leaders of the Pack” javelina sculptures located on University Boulevard in front of College Hall.


After graduating from Texas College of Arts and Industries in 1966, Hinojosa became a faculty member and later served as the Dean of Visual Arts at the Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts in downtown Laredo. The city further recognized him by naming Armando Hinojosa Drive in south Laredo in his honor. In 2007, Hinojosa was honored during Tejano History Week at Texas A&M-Kingsville. 

Dr. Linda Mora graduated from Texas A&I University in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. Dr. Mora has been a tremendous advocate for education throughout her career, directing the development of the curriculum diagnostic benchmarks and providing quick online access to student data for teachers and administrators. She also developed the process for providing direct support to struggling schools (School Turn Around Teams) and the Academy for Beginning Leaders in Education (ABLE), a training for first-year principals and their mentors.


Dr. Mora has dedicated over 48 years in public education having served most recently as the Deputy Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Northside ISD before her retirement in 2016. She also served as Associate Commissioner of Accountability and Accreditation for the Texas Education Agency and the Director of Statewide Initiatives for the Region XIII Education Service Center in Austin. In 2018, the Dr. Linda G. Mora Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas, was named in her honor. Dr. Mora currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.


I.J. “Chip” Berthelot II graduated from Texas A&I University in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Gas Engineering. Berthelot has served various officer positions within the Corpus Christi Gas Measurement Society and Gas Processor Association. Berthelot is a generous donor of Texas A&M-Kingsville and is recognized in the university’s Legacy Society. His gifts have supported university initiatives such as the President’s Circle, the Bruce M. Withers Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund in Natural Gas Engineering and the College of Engineering Annual Fund. He also supports cutting-edge, college-prep education programs in the Houston area as well as other local causes.


Berthelot serves on the Texas A&M-Kingsville Foundation Board of Trustees and previously served both the Javelina Alumni Association and Texas A&I Alumni Association as a board member. He also currently serves on the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering Natural Gas Engineering Advisory Board. Berthelot resides in Houston, Texas, where he is Co-founder, President and board member of Laser Midstream Energy, a startup private equity backed midstream venture.


The Rising Star Award was established in 2003, with Eva Longoria as the first honoree. The award recognizes alumni within 15 years of their graduation from Texas A&M University-Kingsville who have achieved professional success and brought special honor to the university. 


This year’s recipient of the Rising Star Award, Josh Ruiz, graduated in 2008 with his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree with a minor in Business Administration. Ruiz has received many awards, including the NASA Group Achievement Award for the NASA Spacecraft Fuel Cell Development Team and iPAS Pathfinder Team. At the NASA Space Center, he designed and flight certified a ground-based ISS Columbus Module Simulator which interfaces with flight-ready satellites in verification of control relays, transducers and power simulation. Ruiz was also recognized as an Engineering Leader Under 40.

Ruiz currently serves as Maintenance Manager at Dow Chemical in Freeport, Texas, where he analyzes asset utilization, unplanned events, and cost data to develop and prioritize a list of instrument and electrical reliability opportunities. Ruiz also mentors young engineers and technicians and volunteers within his Hispanic community as a translator.


The Blue and Gold Service Award is presented to a deserving individual, business, or organization that embodies the four pillars of the association, are connected with the university and community, has Javelina Spirit, and supports the values and mission of the institution. It can only be awarded to an individual who did not graduate from the university. This year’s recipient is longtime university staff member Fred Nuesch. 


Nuesch has served Texas A&M University-Kingsville for more than 50 years since his arrival on campus in 1968. He retired in 2003 after serving as the Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations for 35 years, but continued his loyal service to the university as the Coordinator of External Affairs. He continues to put out a weekly newspaper tabloid, Javelina Highlights, which earned a bronze award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in 2018.


In 2017, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved Emeritus status for four retired members of the Texas A&M-Kingsville faculty and staff. Nuesch held the longest tenure amongst the honorees and was named Sports Information Director Emeritus, the first to be afforded this honor within the Texas A&M System.


Often seen at Javelina events on campus with a camera around his neck, Nuesch is both an official documenter of all things Javelina Sports and an unofficial historian of Javelina athletes and coaches.


Our honorees of the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards will be recognized at a ceremony during Homecoming Week at Texas A&M-Kingsville Oct. 25-30, 2021. As in past years, a dinner and program honoring these individuals will be open to the public. These plans are subject to change in accordance with any health or public gathering restrictions. More information regarding the ceremony will be officially announced early Fall. To stay up-to-date with news and information about this event and more from the Javelina Alumni Association, please visit us at

Category: Awards/Honors , General Univ

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