BROWNSVILLE — The American Council on Education presented University of Texas-Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia with a Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday for “exemplary contributions to women in higher education,” according to a release from the organization.

The award was presented during the organization’s Women in Leadership Dinner, the release states.

“It is a special honor to give President Garcia the ACE Lifetime Achievement Award,” ACE President Molly Corbett Broad said in a statement. “She has truly been a trailblazer for women and Mexican-Americans and an innovator on campus.”

Garcia, who chaired the ACE Board of Directors from 1994 to 1995, said it was an honor because the organization represents all levels of higher education.

The organization calls Garcia “a trailblazer and an innovator” in its release.

According to its website, ACE is the “most visible and influential higher education association” in the country. It represents 1,800 degree-granting institutions, including two- and four-year schools, nonprofit and for-profit alike.

“It’s a very powerful voice in Washington, so I’ve always been attracted to the organization because it takes positions on important issues and it leads on important issues,” Garcia said. “It’s an extraordinarily powerful voice in our nation.”

Garcia, who was in Washington to accept the award, said the theme of the meeting was “Leading Change.”

She said the entire meeting is organized around the idea of change in education, which highlights the transformation the UT System Board of Regents is hoping to accomplish in South Texas.

Because of the theme, Garcia said she was looking forward to speaking with other educators about new innovations and ideas for the future of higher education.

“I think it’s appropriate while we are in the midst of the metamorphosis,” Garcia said, referring to the continuing separation from Texas Southmost College and merger with UT-Pan American in Edinburg.

“We’re not alone,” she added.


Melissa Montoya writes for The Brownsville Herald. She can be reached at