Posted: 10/09/23

TAMIU’s 2023 Innovador Award Recognizes Summers Couple for Lasting Educational Impact


Dr. Pablo Arenaz
Dr. Pablo Arenaz, TAMIU President  

A shared lifetime of loving their community and impacting education was recognized with the awarding of the 2023 Texas A&M International University (TAMIU)  Innovador Award to Evelyn Summers and her husband, the late Carroll E. Summers, Jr. at TAMIU’s Fall Convocation Ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023 in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall.  

TAMIU’s Innovador Award was created in 2018 to recognize individuals or organizations making a lasting impact on education, particularly higher education, in Laredo and the South Texas region.  It is presented annually by TAMIU president Dr. Pablo Arenaz at the Fall Convocation Ceremony which traditionally ushers in the academic year at the University. In addition to the Innovador Award, president Arenaz shared the State of the University address and  awarded the  2023 Faculty Awards.

Dr. Arenaz said the selection of this year’s Innovador Award honorees truly affirms the values the Award espouses.

“This year’s honorees, Evelyn and Carroll E. Summers, more than meet the essence of being innovadores for our community.  Mr. Summers, with the unending support of his wife, Evelyn, whom he always called the wind beneath his wings, served on many non-profit boards that supported the mental, physical, and spiritual development of students. His leadership service to boards of the United Independent School District, Border Olympics, Laredo Rotary Club, and the Ruthe B. Cowl Rehabilitation Center still inspires us. Mrs. Summers was a successful entrepreneur whose downtown store, Townhouse, dressed many young Laredo women and helped encourage their aspirations. 

“Together, Evelyn and Carroll E. Summers created scholarship endowments at both TAMIU and Laredo College, in addition to scholarships with the Laredo Area Community Foundation and the Webb Soil and Water Conservation District.  This combined giving provided hundreds of students with educational opportunities they would not have.  Today, 141 currently enrolled students are benefiting from scholarships created by the Summers.  This love of community and support of higher education has created a lasting, transformational legacy in Laredo, which their son Robert Summers is proudly carrying forward,” Dr. Arenaz noted.

The Summers have long been active in the life of their beloved Laredo as entrepreneurs, ranchers, and philanthropists. They proudly portrayed Martha and George Washington in 1987 and 1988 George Washington Birthday Celebrations. Carroll E. Summers passed away on December 17, 2022 and was  posthumously honored with the Mr. South Texas Award last February.  

Last year’s Innovador Award recipient was the late Frank Staggs. Previous recipients have included  Guadalupe and Lilia Martínez Foundation Trustees Bob and Shirley González and State Senator Judith Zaffirini.

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

Information is also available on the University’s website, tamiu.edu, and social channels on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads, Twitter, and YouTube.

Mr. and Mrs. Summers photo
Carroll E. Summers, Jr. and Evelyn Summers, 2023 Texas A&M International University Innovador Award recipients