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Commencement Speaker

photo of Sara Martinez Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund

Antonio O. Garza, Jr.

Antonio O. Garza, Jr., the United States ambassador to Mexico, will be the speaker at the 123rd Spring Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin.

 “As Texas’ Secretary of State, and now ambassador to Mexico, Tony Garza has rendered outstanding public service to the people of Texas and our nation,” said William Powers, Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin.

“He has been a conscientious leader and a trailblazer all his life, working to improve education, health care, environmental protection and immigration policies.  The university is proud of his many accomplishments and pleased to count him as one of our distinguished graduates.  We are delighted he will be our commencement speaker," Powers said.

A native of Brownsville, Texas, Garza received his bachelor of business administration degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1980 and his doctor of jurisprudence degree in 1983 from Southern Methodist University School of Law.  He later became a partner in the Austin office of Bracewell & Patterson, L.L.P., a Houston-based law firm. 

Garza began his public service in 1988 by being elected county judge in Cameron County.  In 1994, newly-elected governor George W. Bush made Garza his first nominee, naming him secretary of state and senior policy advisor.  Garza served as Gov. Bush’s lead liaison on border and Mexico affairs. From 1999-2002, he served as chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.  In 2002, President Bush appointed Garza as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Mexico.

In 1989, Garza received the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award. In 2001, Garza received SMU School of Law’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.  Hispanic Business Magazine has twice named him one of its “Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics” and, most recently, Hispanic Magazine named him one of the “25 Most Powerful Hispanics” in the United States.  Additionally, Poder Magazine recently named the ambassador and his wife, María Asunción Aramburuzabala, as amongst the “10 Most Powerful People in Mexico.”


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