WBCA Names Dr. Keck
Mr. South Texas 2012

Ray Keck, Patricia Cigarroa Keck
Dr. Ray Keck and Patricia Cigarroa Keck

The Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) named Dr. Ray Marvin Keck, president of Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), Mr. South Texas 2012 for the 115th Washington’s Birthday Celebration.

The formal announcement was made during an August press conference held at the BBVA Compass Plaza Tower in downtown Laredo, hosted by BBVA Compass.

The Mr. South Texas designation is presented to a deserving individual worthy of the award who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the growth and development of Laredo and the South Texas region. The Award presentation and luncheon is a signature event of the annual Washington's Birthday Celebration and took place Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Laredo Country Club. To read a copy of Dr. Keck's acceptance comments, please go here.

The Mr. South Texas Selection Committee, comprised of past presidents of the WBCA and former Mr. South Texas recipients who reside in Laredo, meet several times during the year to discuss possible candidates. The Committee members take great effort in creating an all-inclusive nominating pool of candidates from all walks of life who have made a significant impact on the area.

Susan Foster, Chairperson for this year’s Mr. South Texas Selection Committee and WBCA Ex-Officio affirmed, “Dr. Keck embodies exactly what Mr. South Texas stands for.”

“Dr. Keck is an intellectual, an artist, and a renaissance man of the highest order,” Foster said, “He has worked tirelessly to bring higher educational opportunities to Laredo and South Texas. Through his efforts TAMIU now ranks as one of the top Regional Public Universities in the United States.”

Prior to becoming President in 2001, Dr. Keck was a member of the faculty in Laredo and has served as department chair and Provost.

He holds an A.B. and Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literature from Princeton University and has studied at Harvard Divinity School, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Centro de Estudios Hispánicos en Madrid (Bryn Mawr College), and the Deutsche Somerschule am Atlantik.

As a president within The Texas A&M University System, he serves on various boards for higher education in Texas. He is also a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas.

Born in San Antonio, he graduated in 1965 from Texas Military Institute. Dr. Keck began his teaching career at Connecticut’s The Hotchkiss School in 1970. For 40 years he has taught, studied, and written about Spanish literature, with an emphasis on the Spanish Golden Age.

Since his undergraduate days, Dr. Keck has studied and played the organ, especially the music of J. S. Bach, and has performed often with orchestras and ensembles. He has held posts as director of church music for parishes in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Texas.

In Laredo, Dr. Keck has served as president of the Regional P-16 Council. He aggressively champions the need for a comprehensive, dual-language program for all children in Texas schools.

He is married to Patricia Cigarroa Keck, and has three children and two grandchildren.

“I am, of course, humbled to be asked to stand with some of this city’s, region’s and State’s most remarkable leaders as Mr. South Texas 2011,” Keck said, “The transformative legacies that my predecessors have generated have inspired me for a lifetime, convincing me and many of the power and responsibility of each individual to serve others.”

He added, “I am deeply thankful to the Mr. South Texas Selection Committee for their confidence in me, for I feel it more truly serves to underscore the much greater gift of higher education that Texas A&M International University has brought to this community and region. And so it is for that gift of larger legacy, of greater dreams for generations, of lives more fully illuminated by hope and knowledge that I most gratefully accept this honor.”

Together with the Mr. South Texas designation, Dr. Keck becomes a member of Los Caballeros de la República del Río Grande. This select group of national and international distinguished men and women are honored for their dedication and countless hours of service and support to the Washington’s Birthday Celebration each year by an official induction ceremony and presentation of the Caballero Medallion.

“Dr. Ray Keck is most deserving of the title Mr. South Texas,” said WBCA President José A. Palacios, Jr.

“As president of our University, he has made it not only an academic center of excellence, but a business network, a campus of culture and art, and a district of diversity for our community. Because of that he is respected and admired by businessmen, academicians, political leaders, artists, historians and a myriad of people throughout the state and the nation,” Palacios concluded.

One of the most celebrated WBCA events is the Mr. South Texas Luncheon attended each year by dignitaries and honored guests from both the United States and Mexico. BBVA Compass generously sponsors the event.

“Dr. Keck is an outstanding honoree who is most worthy of the Mr. South Texas title,” said Giampaolo Consigliere, Laredo City President for BBVA Compass.

“Because we work as partners with TAMIU and fully understand his leadership in our community, BBVA Compass heartily applauded Dr. Keck’s selection. We are proud to sponsor not only his announcement reception at our bank, but also the 2012 Mr. South Texas Luncheon. Having sponsored that premier event of the WBCA celebration for many years, we are confident that an impressive cross-section of guests will join us in paying tribute to this year’s honoree.

“We also congratulate WBCA’s officers, members, and volunteers for this legendary annual celebration that brings great joy to residents and visitors while boosting our economy,” added Consigliere.

Pati G. Guajardo,  first vice president; Bob Weathers, president-elect; Dr. Keck; Jose A. Palacios, Jr., president; James A. Notzon, BBVA Compass Bank senior vice president/regional manager and WBCA Board member, Susan Foster, ex-officio and Veronica Castillon, second vice president
Dr. Keck is congratulated by officers of the WBCA, left to right:
Pati G. Guajardo, first vice president; Bob Weathers, president-elect; Dr. Keck; Jose A. Palacios, Jr., president; James A. Notzon, BBVA Compass Bank senior vice president/regional manager and WBCA Board member, Susan Foster, ex-officio and Veronica Castillon, second vice president.

Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling Jalapeño Festival and much more. Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and yearly contributes an estimated $14 million to the local economy.

The Washington’s Birthday Celebration was recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association (ABA) because of the excellent entertainment value it offers to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.

The 115th Washington’s Birthday Celebration takes place January 19 – February 19.

For additional information, click on the media tab at www.wbcalaredo.org, e-mail wbca@wbcalaredo.org, contact the WBCA office at 956.722.0589, or visit 1819 E. Hillside Road in Laredo, Texas.

This news release provided by Celina Alvarado, WBCA Public Relations and Marketing Manager and a TAMIU graduate.

To access the original news article please click here.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu