There aren't many university professors that can rustle up cattle and also help students to harness the power of higher education to make their dreams real.
But there aren't many professors like retiring Texas A&M International University professor of education Dr. Eduardo Hinojosa, whose service to the University was recently celebrated at a reception hosted by the College of Education in the University's Great Room and attended by his family, friends, colleagues and former students.
A familiar face on campus for over 29 years, he's the first to tell you that he grew up to be a cowboy and retires still yearning for another ride in the South Texas sunshine.
Born in Encinal, Tx he grew up herding cattle to support his grandmother and had to drop out of school in the 8th grade. Drafted into the military in 1953, the GI Bill afforded him an opportunity to pursue an education after he completed his service. He did so by commuting to Kingsville and earning B.S. and M. S. degrees in education.
Students first welcomed him to their classrooms in Encinal in 1959. After a number of public school experiences, he joined then-Laredo State University as a supervisor of student teaching in 1971.
But his quest for learning was not over. With longtime friend and former University president Dr. Leo Sayavedra, he attended the University of Texas, earning his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction in 1976. Throughout the years, his research interest has focused on the comparison of English reading strategies for applicability with bilingual students.
Although he became a full professor in 1987, his colleagues said he isn't known for the reading and study that has typified his life. Instead, he is known for assisting hundreds of young Laredoans at the University's reading clinic, and making reading and study possible for them.
Through the innovative program, originated by former University professor Dr. Don Critchlow, many children from throughout the area have learned to read or to become better readers.
Always a man of few words, Dr. Hinojosa praised his family, his colleagues and his faith at his retirement reception, preferring that his colleagues share their impressions.
Dean of the College of Education Dr. Rosa Maria Vida praised Hinojosa as a tireless champion of students who challenges them to be their best.
"He has always been here for his students. He's opened minds and hearts and helped to make sure that our teacher candidates are the best prepared for the challenge of the classroom. His work in the reading clinic has inspired us all to greatness, " she observed.
She announced that the College of Education plans to establish a diagnostic center named after Dr. Hinojosa and Dr. Critchlow in the future.
"We think that is a fitting way to honor the pioneering work of both Dr. Hinojosa and Dr. Critchlow, and hope that it will encourage others to follow their lead," she explained.
Dr. Hinojosa, who has published several childrens' books, will now turn his attention to completing a series entitled "Mi Jardin de Conocimientos" which is being reviewed for publication by a major publication house.
He's looking forward to travel and time with his wife Cidelia, three adult children, Melissa, Lynette and Eddie and 3 grandchildren....and the occasional horseride.
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