Gold Nuggets    


David A. Montoya, B.S. in Criminal Justice, 1986

As the first Hispanic inspector general of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Honorable David A. Montoya knows that UTEP was a critical part of his career path. Read more...

Susana Navarro, Ph.D., B.A. in Political Science, 1968

Born and raised in El Paso, Susana Navarro followed her father, uncles, aunts, and great uncle to UTEP, continuing a legacy of higher education that she has in turn worked to help countless families attain. Read more...

Ray Malooly, B.A. in History, B.A. in English, 1959

Ray Malooly originally attended Texas Western College in hopes of earning a medical degree. After several classes and labs, he realized medicine was not intended for him. He graduated in 1959 with a B.A. in History and English. Read more...

2013 Gold Nuggets Reception:
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
4:00 p.m.
Tomas Rivera Conference Center, Union East 308



Alfonso Batres, Ph.D. - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 1975

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012: Special Presentation
Thursday, October 18th, 2012: Award Ceremony

Dr. Alfonso R. Batres' pursuit of his undergraduate degree was temporarily interrupted when he joined the Army and fought in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. Yet this decision to serve his country would be the impetus and inspiration to earn his bachelor's degree in psychology from UTEP in 1975.

"UTEP provided me with a solid academic foundation at a time when I was personally struggling with my readjustment back to civilian life from Vietnam," he said. "I wanted to help my fellow veterans with their readjustment needs and found that psychology was the right choice."

In 1978, Dr. Batres received his Master’s of Social Work from the University of Louisville and earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1984. He became the Chief Officer of the Readjustment Counseling Center, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in 1994. Under his resolute leadership, the quantity and quality of services provided through community-based Vet Centers nationwide were expanded and improved to meet the unique needs of an ever-growing number of combat veterans and their families. These services include specialized counseling, medical and benefit referrals, and job assistance. "Dr. Batres has led the program to record levels of service provision over many years," said Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA Undersecretary for Health.

"The opportunity to serve veterans and their families as a civil servant through the Vet Center program has been a dream realized and an honor," Batres told the Partnership for Public Service when awarded the 2011 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal. The career medal recognizes the significant accomplishments of a federal employee throughout a lifetime of achievements in public service and is the highest award bestowed on a civil servant outside the government.

He other most recent awards include: the Presidential Distinguished Service Rank Award for Senior Executives, the highest award that can be achieved within civil service; the Presidential Meritorious Service Rank Award, a Presidential Citation for saving veterans lives; and, many others.

"I love working with and for veterans," he said, "and have been blessed with a job that I love."

He has also held various academic appointments and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Medical and Clinical Psychology with the F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.


Bertha Toscano and Beverly Penn

The University of Texas at El Paso, The College of Liberal Arts, and the UTEP Alumni Association are pleased to announce the 2011 Gold Nugget Award recipients.

The award recognizes outstanding alumni from each of the colleges and the School of Nursing. The recipients are being honored for their exceptional achievements and contributions to their professions, communities and UTEP.

The Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts invites you and your guests to a ceremony and reception for the 2011 honorees, Mike Martinez and Ray Sanchez. The reception will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 4:00 pm at the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts. RSVP to 915-747-7013 by October 13, 2011.

Mike Martinez – Gold Nugget, Bachelor of Arts - Communication, 2011

In a career spanning 60 years, Mike Martinez has helped transform major corporations, organizations and institutions the world over. But he first applied those tremendous talents at the then-Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy in 1949.

A journalism student, Martinez led the charge to change the college’s name to Texas Western University – a name he asserted would better reflect its growth since its founding as a small engineering and mining school in 1914. The University of Texas System and State Legislature approved the change to Texas Western, but insisted on “College” instead of “University.”

That remarkable achievement helped launch an even more remarkable career. Tapped early for an advertising management position with Sears, he left the college (which became UTEP in 1967) nine credit hours shy of his degree.

His bilingual, bicultural communication skills helped propel him into executive positions with top national marketing, advertising and public relations firms. He handled Fortune 500 clients including Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Co. and Exxon, expanding their international presence. Today, he is president and CEO of his own consulting firm, Strategic Management Services, in Dallas.

This year, he completed the coursework to earn his bachelor’s degree from the University he impacted so strongly as a student. Martinez says, “Life has a funny way of working itself out.” Indeed it does; his diploma reads neither Texas College of Mines nor Texas Western, but The University of Texas at El Paso.

Ray Sanchez – Gold Nugget, Bachelor of Arts - Communication, 1993

Most UTEP graduates use their college degrees as launching pads for their professional careers.

Ray Sanchez reversed the process, enjoying an outstanding career as a sports writer and sports editor before shifting his focus to higher education.

“It took me 40 years to get my degree,” Sanchez joked.

After serving in the Army following World War II, the El Paso High School graduate returned home, eager to enter UTEP (then the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy) through the G.I. Bill. He picked journalism as his major, the field he loved. But, when the El Paso Herald-Post hired him as a sportswriter, he dropped out.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ll get my degree in a year or two,’” Sanchez said.

The “year or two” stretched into 43. He became one of the most highly regarded sports writers in El Paso, retiring as the Herald-Post sports editor in 1990. He also authored six books, including The Miners: The History of Sports at The University of Texas at El Paso.

For all his accomplishments, however, his résumé seemed incomplete. So he returned to UTEP and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1993.

“I took courses like pre-law, photography, American history, cinema, philosophy, poetry to complete my required credits,” he said. “I not only felt more fulfilled, but smarter. It taught me that no matter how much you think you know, there’s so much more to learn.”


Bertha Toscano and Beverly Penn

The University of Texas at El Paso and the UTEP Alumni Association are pleased to announce the 2010 Gold Nugget Award recipients.

The award recognizes outstanding alumni from each of the colleges and the School of Nursing. The recipients are being honored for their exceptional achievements and contributions to their professions, communities and UTEP.

The 2010 Gold Nuggets will be recognized during Homecoming Week (Oct. 4-9) activities, including the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner on Friday, Oct. 8, at the Don Haskins Center.

The recipients this year for the College of Liberal Arts are:

Beverly Penn, B.F.A., studio art/sculpture, ’82; art and design professor at Texas State University in San Marcos for the past 20 years. Some of Penn’s pieces are in the permanent collections of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Bertha Toscano, B.A., Spanish, ’33; UTEP’s oldest known living alumna and former human resources director for ASARCO. Toscano’s remarkable career spanned nearly 40 years. For much of that time, she was one of the company’s only female executives.


College of Liberal Arts 2009 Gold Nugget Recipient
Alfredo Corchado Jimenez

Alfredo Corchado and Dr. Howard C. Daudistel

Alfredo Corchado and Dean Howard C. Daudistel

Alfredo Corchado Jimenez attended the University of Texas at El Paso to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming an investigative journalist and a foreign correspondent. Alfredo graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and quickly dedicated his life to bridging the gap that Americans and Mexicans perceive deeply divide our countries "and keep us from recognizing our similarities."

For more than 15 years, Mr. Corchado has served as the Mexico Bureau Chief for The Dallas Morning News and was the lead reporter during Mexico's 2000 presidential election. He was the first to interview President Vicente Fox following Fox's historic win, and was among a select group of experts who briefed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prior to her first trip to Mexico.

Mr. Corchado Jimenez' work covering United States-Mexico relations, border violence, immigration and other border issues has earned him numerous accolades and awards including the prestigious 2007 Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University for outstanding reporting in Latin America. In 2009, he was named a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

IMAGE CREDIT: Courtesy of University Communications

Please visit Gold Nugget Criteria to learn about how to submit a nomination.

Please visit Gold Nugget Criteria to learn about how to submit a nomination.