Nursing Professor Designates Portion of ‘Wall’ Settlement to
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS –
APRIL 14, 2014 – In
2013, after a prolonged court battle, Dr.
Eloisa G. Taméz,
Associate Professor of Graduate Nursing at The
University of Texas at Brownsville, received compensation
from the U.S. Government for constructing the 18-foot iron fence that cuts her
property in two.
Dr. Eloisa G. Taméz stands at the fence of her back yard; just beyond is the border “wall” that bisects her property.
“I see myself as a
custodian of this property,” she said. “This was my parents’ property – they
worked hard to get it, to keep it, to pass it on to us – and so I want their
names to be remembered forever, in a meaningful way. The loss of that portion
of land and the compensation that came about as a result of it – to me, the
best way to use that money is to put it into a scholarship fund for advanced
With funds from the
settlement, Tamez is establishing the José Cavazos García and Lydia Esparza
García Scholarship Endowment in honor of her late parents.
“The property that was
inherited by my father, José Cavazos García, is part of the San Pedro de
Carricitos Land Grant.” Taméz said. “The original size of the land grant was
12,000 acres, and we have three acres; but those three acres are just as
valuable to us, as a family, as the 12,000 acres, because of what it means to
us to have land. From land, we – my parents, my father, my grandfather – carved
a life for us because they were both farmers.”
her father’s hard work on the family’s three acres along the Texas-Mexico
border in El Calaboz, about 14 miles west of Brownsville, Texas. She remembers
her father behind the plow pulled by the family horse, Gardenia, and she often
thinks of her mother making a paste from the golandrina plant – for compresses
to soothe the pain in her father’s eyes.
“His goggles were not
enough protection from el azufre – the sulfur – that he would
sprinkle from a burlap sack onto the vegetables, waging war against insects,”
she said. “I remember how hard it was for my father, to see that we had those
crops – plowing and planting, and the watering, that was done mostly at night
when it was cooler, and the sulfur that seeped into his goggles. These memories
have stayed with me all these years.”
Taméz knew from the
time she was a sophomore at San Benito High School that she wanted to become a
“I was very fortunate
to be the recipient of a scholarship,” she said. “It was given by the
Cameron/Willacy County Ladies Auxiliary – and that paid for all my education at St.
Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Galveston.”
achieving her nursing degree at St. Mary’s, Taméz continued her education,
receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of the Incarnate
Word in San Antonio.
Her master’s and doctoral degrees were earned from The University of Texas
Health Science Center at San Antonio. After a 27-year career with the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs, Taméz decided to
“I always believed that
I needed to return to the Valley so that I could be a role model to Hispanics
who may want to go into nursing,” she said.
Taméz feels a
tremendous void exists in the nursing profession, with only two percent of the
nation’s 3.1 million nurses being Hispanic. She said the need is not only to
increase the number of Hispanic nurses in the country but also to expand the
number of Hispanic nurses with graduate degrees in leadership positions.
Just as she received a
scholarship that launched her career in nursing, Taméz hopes the José Cavazos
García and Lydia Esparza García Scholarship Endowment will serve a similar
purpose for nurses seeking the Master
of Science in Nursing.
“This scholarship fund
will help individuals who are going to be safeguarding the health of the people
in the community,” Taméz said.
The establishment of
the endowment is timely as her parents would have marked their 80th wedding
anniversary on Saturday, May 3.
Contributions to the
José Cavazos García and Lydia Esparza García Scholarship Endowment in the
couple’s memory may be sent to Laurie Howell, Executive Director for University
Relations, 956-882-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org or online at UTB Giving.