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Inaugural Tower Awards Presented at TAMIU’s 50th Anniversary President’s Dinner

As part of its year-long celebration of its 50th Anniversary, Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) hosted its benefit President’s Dinner and Awards on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library Great Room.

Highlighting the event was the presentation of the University’s first TAMIU Tower Award Recipients, presented to individuals or groups who have shared a towering role in shaping the University’s destiny and mission.

The Inaugural Award Recipients were The Killam Family, The Lamar Bruni Vergara Trust and the A. R. Sanchez, Jr. Family.

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the evening served to initiate a new tradition and recognize the Tower recipients for their remarkable legacy with TAMIU.

“TAMIU has been blessed by the generosity of so many in our community, but the combined legacy of these three Award recipients has fundamentally changed the destiny, secured the mission, and laid a foundation for future success for Texas A&M International University. As we observe our 50th Anniversary, there is no more fitting time to pause and reflect on the power and scope of the impact empowered by these families and foundations. We hope to move forward by pausing annually to share additional recognitions,” Dr. Arenaz said.

Radcliffe and Sue Killam
Radcliffe and Sue Killam
Joe Martin and Jim Perl
Joe Martin and Jim Perl
Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Sanchez, Jr
Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Sanchez, Jr.

The evening's sponsors included: Visionary Sponsors--City of Laredo, Webb County, Texas Community Bank, Falcon Bank, IBC Bank and La Posada Hotel; Leader Sponsors--BBVA Compass, and Southern Distributing. The dinner was provided compliments of Aramark.

Dinner was served in the Great Room overlooking the University’s front lawn tree allées which featured special tree lighting and projected two-story images of the 50th Anniversary brand on the Killam Library’s apse walls and lawn.

A special multi-station dessert bar followed the Dinner and was held in the Helen Richter Watson Gallery with musical entertainment featuring a jazz combo comprised of University faculty members Dr. James Moyer, Dr. Kevin Lindberg, Jerry Quintero and Nicole Gillotti.

Famed Author, Alum Norma E. Cantú Guest Speaker for TAMIU’s Faculty-Authored Books Reception Oct. 2

An alumnus, former faculty member and revered author served as guest speaker at the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) Faculty Authored  Book (FAB) Collection reception, Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library Colonnade.

Dr. Norma E. Cantú, (’73), is the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Her latest novel is Cabañuelas (University of New Mexico Press).

Her recent works include Transcendental Train Yard: A Collaborative Suite of SerigraphsCanícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, Updated Edition (UNM Press), and the co-edited anthology Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art.

Her presentation shared her journey from college student to college professor and noted the powerful and lasting  change that the University here, her alma mater, had made possible.  She closed with a reading of  "My Mother's Hands" from her latest book of poetry, Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life and Labor  (University of Arizona Press). 

Killam Library director Doug Ferrier said the FAB reception noted some milestones this year.

“The FAB reception is part of TAMIU’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and also serves to note the Killam Library’s 25th Anniversary and the 20th Anniversary of its Special Collections. It serves as a tribute to 50 years of faculty authorship on our campus, with a welcome to the most recent three years of faculty publication, which will be exhibited,” Ferrier explained. 

Jeanette Hatcher, the Special Collections librarian, said the FAB Collection was launched in 2009.

“We launched the FAB Collection to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the University and recognize the book-published scholarship of its faculty. The Collection was a retrospective of faculty publications from 2009 back to the University’s founding University in 1970.  It will continue to grow as new books are produced by TAMIU faculty. Books are included in the FAB Collection when a faculty member is sole author, co-author, main editor, co-editor, or translator of a work,” Hatcher said.

Cantú received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the former-Texas A&I University at Laredo and Kingsville, respectively, and her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

At the former Laredo State University, later TAMIU, she taught and served as chair and interim dean. She has also been a senior arts administrator with the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. and acting chair of the Chicano Studies Research Center, University of California-Santa Barbara.

Her teaching interests include Cultural Studies, Contemporary Literary Theory, Border Studies, Chicano/a and Latina/o Literature & Film, Folklore and Women’s Studies.

Her award-winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera chronicles her childhood experiences on the border. She edits the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Culture and Traditions book series at The Texas A&M University Press, is a Board member of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, and founder and director of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa.

To learn more about the FAB Collection, visit:

Throughout 2019-2020, TAMIU is celebrating its 50th anniversary and its 25th  anniversary at its north Laredo campus.  A dedicated website shares the University’s transformation from a hybrid upper-level university to a full doctoral degree-granting University. The website traces the University’s history, shares its impact in personal stories, and includes a calendar of Anniversary events and more at

For additional information, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email, click on or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.

Dr. Norma E. Cantú
Dr. Cantu Speaking
FAB 50 gold baloon.
Dr. Cantu
Audience listening to Dr. Cantu speak
FAB 50 gold baloon.
Dr. Cantu and other TAMIU employees smiling for a picture.

Tonight's Benefit Screening of ‘The Current War’ Sold Out

A world premiere screening of Laredo-born filmmaker and TV producer Alfonso Gómez-Rejón’s latest feature film, “The Current War,”  set for Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse is sold-out. 

Immediately following the screening, a Q&A session with Gómez-Rejón will take place.

The screening, a special TAMIU 50thAnniversary Celebration Event,  serves as a fundraiser to benefit the Julio C. Gómez-Rejón, M.D. Endowment. No tickets are available.

The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, and Nicholas Hoult, tells the story of Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch), an inventor who aims to bring electricity to Manhattan through a new type of technology.

Marketing poster for The Current War

His plans are thwarted by George Westinghouse (Shannon), who believes his partner, Nikolai Tesla (Hoult) holds a more advanced and superior technology to electrify the country. As Edison and Tesla vie to see whose technology will be utilized, their feud sparks one of the first corporate battles in the U.S.

The film also stars Katherine Waterston, Tom Holland, Matthew Macfadyen and Tuppence Middleton.

“My father was a physician with the soul of an artist,” said Gómez-Rejón, “Throughout my life, he exposed me to the arts and encouraged conversation about history, culture, art, and politics. He would be pleased to know that others are given the freedom to explore these topics because of him.”

The Endowment scholarship provides assistance to TAMIU students studying the fine and performing arts, as well as nursing and pre-med programs.

Gómez-Rejón was the director of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” the 2015 Sundance Film Festival winner of the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award.

He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and his Master of Fine Arts from the American Film Institute. He began his career as a personal assistant before becoming a second unit director to Martin Scorsese, Nora Ephron and Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Gómez-Rejón has garnered Emmy nominations for his work as director and co-executive producer on TV’s American Horror Story: Coven and directed episodes of American Horror Story's first four seasons, as well as the first four seasons of the musical comedy-drama series Glee.

TAMIU 'Going Beyond Art Exhibit' Celebrates Alumni, 50th Anniversary, Opens

Going Beyond Exhibit Flyer

In celebration of Texas A&M International University’s 50thAnniversary, over 50 works of art by 26 alumni will be on display during the “Going Beyond Alumni Art Exhibit.”

An opening reception will be held Thursday, Sept. 12 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the TAMIU Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Gallery (CFPA). Admission is free and open to the public.

Additionally, during the reception, a silent auction will take place to support student scholarships.

Before the reception, an alumni artist panel is slated from 3:30 – 5 p.m. in the Sam Johnson Experimental Theater, located inside the CFPA. A second panel for the show’s final exhibition day is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 24at the same time and location.   

During each panel, alumni will share their experiences after graduating from the University, both artistically in their work and professionally in their respective careers. A Q&A session for current and prospective art students focusing on future careers in the fine arts field also will be incorporated in the panel discussions.

Featured alumni include Maritza Bautista, Alejandra I. Calderon G., Diego Canales, Bernardo Díaz, Vanessa Filazzola, Oscar Gómez, Sandra González, Rene Gutíerrez, Ilian Hernández, Erika Lamar, Rebecca Leza, Daniela Cavazos Madrigal, Tessa Martínez, Yvette Medellín, Christopher Moncivais, Nahuel Morales, Rachel Morales, Erika Ordoñez, John Peña, Alvaro Pérez, Gloria Pérez, Mike Rodrííguez, Victoria Rosales, Poncho Santos, Sonya Marie Sky and Teresita de la Torre.      

Mediums on display range from ceramics, drawing, painting and photography to printmaking, sculpture, video and more.  

“Art is rewarding, for the artist that creates the work, the audience that experiences the work, and the patron that gives the work a home through a purchase,” explained Jesse Shaw, TAMIU associate professor of art, “The most important thing of all is showing up for one another and this is a great chance to support and see a very expansive grouping of new works from TAMIU’s own.” 

Artwork will be on display through Thursday, Oct. 24.

Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

For more information, contact Shaw at 956.326.2591, email or visit offices in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts, room 233C. 

Academic Innovation Center Inauguration

The newest addition to the Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) campus was dedicated in ceremonies Monday morning, Aug. 26, 2019 at 10:30.

Representatives from The Texas A&M University System, including Chancellor John Sharp and Board Chair Elaine Mendoza of the governing Board of Regents, joined local dignitaries and TAMIU faculty, staff and students to herald the opening of the new Academic Innovation Center (AIC).

After brief ceremonies and a reception, a special unveiling of the 50thAnniversary commissioned art painting by renowned Los Dos Laredos’ artist Arturo Nochebuena González, was held.  TAMIU students shared building tours for guests.

TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz said the AIC is truly an inspiring space that provides an ideal environment for innovative teaching and creative research.

"It’s a remarkable structure that truly advances how we define learning at TAMIU.  Technology is integrated throughout the entire building with teaching walls, while the classroom architecture itself is flexible to encourage collaboration. 

A two-story glass-enclosed Design Lab enables project creation and completion in an open environment. With 21 educational labs and classrooms in addition to faculty and staff offices, the AIC will be home to a broad spectrum of programs, with special emphasis on engineering and the sciences,” Dr. Arenaz said. 

The building’s architecture celebrates the campus’ past and embraces its future. It also pays homage to Laredo and the international border with a sweeping terrazzo floor treatment that spans first and second floors, evoking the flow of the Rio Grande through Los Dos Laredos.

“It’s a great way to inaugurate our 50thAnniversary year,” Arenaz noted, “and you’ll see that the architecture captures that with stunning innovation.  The building’s west side brings in elements of the original campus with hip-roofs, limestone accents and finishes such as marble and cherry wood.  The east end boldly embraces the future with a flat, modern roof and technology-rich classrooms.”

Arenaz said that one of his favorite features is the abundant use of glass throughout the building.

“The building itself is three stories tall and almost 500 feet long and has the most glass of any building on campus, ensuring that 90% of the total AIC space is bathed in natural light, which creates an expansive sense of openness throughout the building,” he observed.

The AIC’s Construction began in 2016 and was funded by Tuition Revenue Bonds passed by the 84thLegislature. Architects were EYP Architecture & Engineering and O’Connell Robertson. Bartlett Cocke General Contractors oversaw the construction.

Throughout 2019-2020, TAMIU is celebrating its 50thanniversary and its 25thanniversary at its north Laredo campus.  A dedicated website shares the University’s transformation from a hybrid upper-level university to a full doctoral degree-granting University. The website traces the University’s history, shares its impact in personal stories and includes a calendar of Anniversary events and more at

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