Posted: 12/16/21

Family Honors Parents with Virginia Ramón Becerra and Florentino Cantú Vargas Scholarship Endowment at TAMIU



A Laredo family says their late parents’ encouragement of the pursuit of higher education guided their decision to establish a Scholarship Endowment to make such pursuits possible for Martin High School graduates attending Texas A&M International University (TAMIU).

Family spokesperson and TAMIU alumna Dr. Norma Elia Cantú helped lead the initiative. 

She is the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio.  Dr. Cantú shared insights with TAMIU candidates for graduation as Commencement Speaker at the University’s Fall 2021 Commencement Exercises last week.

“I can honestly tell you that my life today was only made possible by the education I received here…I am only standing here before you because of this University,” she told candidates for graduation.

Of the Endowment honoring her parents, she said it’s all about helping others and encouraging them to pursue their higher education dreams and career goals.

“Our parents believed in the power of education, and with this scholarship fund, we honor them. Because of their hard work and sacrifice, all of us got to graduate from Martin High,” Cantú recalled. 

Her journey started as a Martin High School graduate working her way through college at then-Laredo Junior College and Texas A&I at Laredo.  She 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 Laredo State University and Texas A&M International University, she taught and later served as Chair and Interim Dean. She is an acclaimed author, lecturer, and researcher. A folklorist, translator, scholar, poet, and novelist, her scholarly and creative focus is on the US-México borderlands.

Cantú has long served as a role model within and outside her extended family, and the community of scholars.  

The eldest of 11 brothers and sisters, seven have earned degrees including three MA’s and two Ph.D’s.  As a first-generation university student, she has served as a role model for many in her extended and large family that now includes attorneys, nurses, teachers, and business owners.  Cantú takes special pride in having guided the successful attainment of doctoral degrees for dozens of students nationwide.

She serves as the President of the American Folklore Society, and is also Professor Emerita in English at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Founder and director of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa, she organized El Mundo Zurdo, a gathering of Anzalduístas from 2007-2019.

Cantú’s most recent publications include the novel, CabañuelasMeditación FronterizaPoems of Love, Life, and Labor and the co-edited anthologies Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and ArtmeXicana Fashions: Politics, Self-Adornment, and Identity ConstructionTeaching Gloria Anzaldúa: Pedagogies for our Classrooms and Communities, and the Critical Edition of Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.  

The criteria for selection for the Virginia Ramón Becerra and Florentino Cantú Vargas Endowed Scholarship includes that the selected student must be a graduate of Laredo’s Raymond and Tirza Martin High School, apply as a high school senior or transfer, meet federal guidelines as a financially disadvantaged student, maintain a 3.0 GPA, and be enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student at TAMIU. The Scholarship is renewable for up to four years.

For more information on the Virginia Ramón Becerra and Florentino Cantú Vargas Endowed Scholarship, contact the University’s Financial Aid office.

To learn how to support TAMIU student scholarships, visit  https://alumni.tamiu.edu, contact Rosanne Palacios, vice president for Institutional Advancement at 956.326.2178, or email rosanne.palacios@tamiu.edu

To read TAMIU’s 2021 Annual Report or access a downloadable PDF file, go to: https://www.tamiu.edu/annualreport/

To preview the Spring Semester at TAMIU, visit: https://go.tamiu.edu/springpreview

Spring Semester face to face classes begin Monday, Jan. 24. Late Registration continues through Jan. 28, 2022.  To learn more about TAMIU’s Registration processes, visit the dedicated Registration Hub at https://go.tamiu.edu/registration. 

Cantu Family Endowed Scholarship

Family Endowment

Family members join to celebrate the creation of the Virginia Ramón Becerra and Florentino Cantú Vargas Endowed Scholarship.  Left to right are Julio C. Cantú, retired Martin High School educator; Geraldina Arredondo, director of the Dennis D. Cantú  Early College High School; Dr. Norma E. Cantú, Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University;  Dr. Elsa C. Ruiz, mathematics educator, University of Texas-San Antonio and Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU president.

 Related Link:

Read Dr. Cantú's Commencement Address