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Hispanic Leadership Initiative Launch

Mon May 4, 2009 at Etter-Harbin Alumni Center Connally Ballroom

The Center, in partnership with the Texas Exes, will launch a Hispanic Leadership Initiative to examine and promote the Hispanic population’s growing potential for leadership across Texas and in the nation. The launch event will feature remarks by The University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa followed by a panel dicussion. Panelists included Henry Bonilla, former U.S. Congressman; Ted Cruz, former Texas Solicitor General; Pete Gallego, Texas State Representative; and Orlinda Naranjo, Travis County District Judge.

A reception will follow this event.

The Hispanic Leadership Initiative

The initiative will measure emerging political and policy trends in the Hispanic community, recognize Hispanic leadership, develop and host information relevant to the Hispanic community and increase recruitment of Hispanic students to the University and the LBJ School.The Hispanic Leadership Initiative has five main objectives to be achieved over a three-year period.

  1. Highlight Hispanic leadership and the emerging role of Hispanic Americans in influencing public policy
  2. Recognize outstanding achievements in leadership by Hispanic alumni
  3. Provide mentoring and networking opportunities for Hispanic alumni and students
  4. Introduce Hispanic undergraduate students to the LBJ School of Public Affairs
  5. Reconnect Hispanic alumni with the University of Texas on an annual basis

Read more about the initiative

About Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, M.D. 

As chancellor of The University of Texas System, Dr. Francisco G. Cigarroa oversees one of the largest public systems of higher education in the nation, with nine universities and six health institutions, an annual operating budget of $11.5 billion (FY 2009), including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local, and private sources, and more than 194,000 students and 84,000 employees. He also serves as vice chairman for policy on the Board of Directors of The University of Texas Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO). A nationally renowned pediatric and transplant surgeon, Dr. Cigarroa served as president of the U.T. Health Science Center at San Antonio from 2000 until his appointment in January 2009 as chancellor. A native of Laredo, Dr. Cigarroa earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale in 1979 and received his medical degree with highest honors from U.T. Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in 1983. He has completed 12 years of postgraduate training. He was chief resident at Harvard’s teaching hospital, Massachusetts General in Boston, and completed a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. In 1995, he joined the U. T. Health Science Center faculty in San Antonio. Dr. Cigarroa was on the surgical team that in 1997 split a donor liver for transplant into two recipients; it was the first operation of its type in Texas. In 2000, he headed the team that performed South Texas’ first successful pediatric small bowel transplant. Dr. Cigarroa serves on the medical staffs of University Hospital, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital-Downtown, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Children's Hospital, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital-Medical Center, and the Baptist Health System, and as a consultant at Methodist Children's Hospital. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgery and a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery. He has received a certificate in pediatric surgery from the American Board of Surgery. His many professional affiliations include the American Medical Association, Texas Medical Association, and Bexar County Medical Society. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. In 2003, President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Cigarroa to serve as a member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. In October 2006, Dr. Cigarroa was elected to membership in the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He also serves as a member of the Secretary’s Council on Public Health Preparedness.


Henry Bonilla

Henry was a member of the United States Congress from 1993 to 2007.  In his first term in office, Henry quickly made his mark. He was featured by TIME magazine as one of America’s Top 50 Up and Coming Young Leaders.  But more importantly, that same year, Henry was recognized as an Outstanding Young Texas Ex.  In addition, Henry was presented an award for dedicated leadership and distinguished service by UT President Robert M. Berdahl in 1996.           

During his time on Capitol Hill, Henry rose to become the 7th most influential member of congress in the Power Rankings by  He was a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee.  He chaired the subcommittee that funded the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, and was also a senior member of the subcommittee that funded the Department of Defense and the CIA.  Henry was in the perfect position to help his alma mater with federal resources and he did.  The University of Texas leadership consistently partnered with Henry over the years to bring millions of federal dollars into our classrooms and research facilities around the state.  Henry’s impact on Hispanic voters was historic.  He represented a congressional district that spanned hundreds of miles along the Texas-Mexico border.  The population was overwhelmingly Hispanic and had never before been represented by a Republican.  Henry also became a national political leader.  He co-chaired the Republican national conventions in 2000 and 2004. 

Henry began life in a housing project on San Antonio’s west side which was almost 100% Hispanic.  He later attended South San Antonio High School, which had a 50% drop out rate.  His mother always encouraged education.  His father encouraged hard work and self responsibility.  With those values, Henry graduated high school and entered the University of Texas in the fall of 1972.  He graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Journalism and spent the next 15 years in broadcast news.  At the peak of that career he was the producer of the 11 p.m. news at WABC-TV in New York City, the flagship station for the ABC television network.  His newscasts were watched by some two to twelve million viewers each night.
Henry is now in his third career as a partner with The Normandy Group, a Washington D. C. government relations firm.  His wife Sheryl is a Public Affairs Manager in the Washington office of UPS.  Henry’s daughter Alicia graduated from Princeton in 2007 and is now in Tokyo, Japan. His son Austin is a sophomore at NYU.


Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is a former Solicitor General of Texas. Appointed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot, Ted served from 2003 to 2008 as the chief appelate lawyer for the State of Texas, representing Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Texas Supreme Court, and the state and federalappellate courts.  He was the first Hispanic Solicotor General in Texas, the youngest Solitcitor General in the Nation, and the longest serving Solicitor General in Texas.  He has authored more than 70 U.S. Supreme Court Briefs and presented 34 oral arguments, including eight before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than any other lawyer in Texas. Before the Supreme Court, he haswon landmark decisions sucessfully defending the Texas Ten Commandmentsmonument, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Second Ammendment right to keep and bear arms, the Texas congressional redistricting plan, and the U.S. sovereignty from attempts by the World Court to bind the U.S. justice system.  Ted has been named by American Lawyer magazine as one of the 50 Best Litigators under 45 in America; hailed as a "rising star" in the Wall Street Journal; and named by National Law Journal as one of the 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America. 

Ted is a Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, the Nation’s twelfth largest law firm, where he leads the firm’s U.S. Supreme Court and national Appellate Litigation practice.  In addition, he serves as an adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas Law School.  Ted is the son of a Cuban immigrant, was raised in Texas, and attended Princeton University and the Harvard Law School. He previously served as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, as Associate Deputy Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, as Department of Justice Coordinator for the 2000 Bush Transition Team, as Domestic Policy Advisor to President George W. Bush on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, and as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on the U.S. Supreme Court.  He is the only Hispanic in history to have clerked for the Chief Justice of the United States.

Pete P. Gallego

Pete P. Gallego, 47, is a member of the Texas House of Representatives from District 74, the largest House district and the largest Texas U.S.-Mexico border district stretching nearly 39,000 square miles and containing over half of the Texas/Mexico border.

Elected in 1990, Representative Gallego is the first Hispanic to represent this vast border district. In 1991, he became the first freshman member and the first ethnic minority member ever elected as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, a post he held until January of 2001. In January of 2001, Representative Gallego was unanimously elected by his colleagues to serve as chair of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus (MALC), a group of 43 House members who are of Mexican-American descent or who serve a significant Mexican-American constituency.

Representative Gallego served as MALC Chair for 8 years.Now in his tenth term, Representative Gallego is Chair of the Committee of Criminal Jurisprudence and serves as a member of the Committees on General Investigating and State Affairs. His career has included chairmanships of the General Investigating Committee and several select and subcommittees.

He has also served as a member of the Sunset Commission and the Committees on Appropriations, Calendars, Criminal Jurisprudence, Higher Education, Elections, Government Reform, and Natural Resources. An Alpine native, Gallego graduated from Sul Ross State University (SRSU) in 1982 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

In 1985, he earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law. Representative Gallego is a member of the Sul Ross State University Hall of Fame as an outstanding booster, and has been named a Distinguished Alumnus by the SRSU Ex-Student Association. In the Legislature, Representative Gallego is an expert in appropriations, law enforcement, criminal justice, campaign finance and victims' rights. He served on the joint House/Senate conference committee on the state budget for five consecutive sessions from 1993 to 2001 and has received numerous awards, including the Advocate for Justice award from a coalition of Texas victims' groups and the Star of Texas public service award by Common Cause of Texas. Following the 1999 session, he was selected as one of Texas Monthly's Ten Best legislators.

Most recently, Representative Gallego received the prestigious OHTLI Award from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs for his contributions to the betterment of the Mexican community in Texas. A supporter of both public and higher education, Representative Gallego was honored by the Eagle Pass Independent School District in 2000 with the naming and dedication of the Pete Gallego Elementary School. He has also been honored by the Texas State University System, The University of Texas System, and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas in appreciation for his support of higher education.The National Council of State Governments awarded Representative Gallego a prestigious Henry Toll Fellowship, recognizing him as one of the outstanding young leaders in the nation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation and was recently named to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

Representative Gallego is also a past chair of the Texas Lyceum Association, an organization comprised of individuals under the age of 45 who have demonstrated leadership abilities throughout the State.Representative Gallego still lives in Alpine, where he was born and raised. He is currently of counsel to the law firm of Brown McCarroll, LLP, which has offices in Austin, El Paso, Houston, Dallas, and Alpine. In addition, he and his wife own the Holland Lofts, a small boutique inn operated under the auspices of the historic Holland Hotel in Alpine.

Orlinda Naranjo

Judge Orlinda Naranjo was elected to Travis County 419th District Court in November, 2006 to a four year term. Judge Naranjo served as Judge of County Court at Law No. 2 for twelve years having been elected to that bench in 1994.

She is a former attorney at Small, Craig & Werkenthin, P.C. and the City of Austin in their litigation sections. She is licensed in New Mexico and Texas and received her law degree from UNM School of Law in May, 1985. She was appointed to the Texas Judicial Council from May, 2000 to September, 2008 by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Phillips and reappointed by Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, September, 2008 to present. From January, 2002 to September, 2008 she was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to serve as a member of the Task Force on Indigent Defense (TFID), a standing statewide 13-member committee that improves the delivery of indigent defense services. The Task Force’s mission is advanced through awarding state funding of over $100 million in grants to counties; also development of uniform indigent defense policies, standards, grant rules and procedures, model forms, and minimum CLE requirements for attorneys appointed to representing indigent defendants.

She is a community advisor for the Junior League of Austin, an Alumni of Leadership Texas and Leadership Austin, and an officer and former board member of numerous professional and community organizations. Wife of Attorney, Jim Ewbank of Ewbank & Byrom, P.C. and mother of two daughters, Alena and McLean and has two beautiful 2 year old granddaughters, Adrienne and Simone.

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