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September 22, 2008

Media Contact: Beverley Golden
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.566.7303 or 903.330.0495 (cell)

UT Tyler Welcomes Senator Judith Zaffirini


Senator Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) will be a special guest at the Vicente Fox lecture at The University of Texas at Tyler, President Rodney H. Mabry announced.

Sen. Zaffirini will introduce Fox, former president of Mexico, during the Drs. Lawrence L. Anderson and Svetislava J. Vukelja Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25 at UT Tyler’s R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to welcome two noted dignitaries to our campus. Vicente Fox made history during his presidency, and Sen. Zaffirini is making history as the highest-ranking woman and Hispanic senator, the second highest-ranking senator and the highest-ranking senator for Bexar County and the border region. We are proud to have them here,” President Mabry said.

Tickets are $51, $41, $31, $21 and $16 and can be purchased at the Cowan Center box office or online at www.CowanCenter.org. Box office hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To reach the box office, call 903.566.7424.

The sponsor for post-lecture reception is Mills Bays Wealth Consulting Group of Wachovia Securities. Reception tickets may be purchased at the box office. Media sponsors are East Texas Radio Group, CBS 19 and Suddenlink.

In 2004, Zaffirini was re-elected with 79 percent of the district-wide vote, her sixth landslide victory in which she carried all counties in the large and diverse district, which had not been accomplished before that election.

In 2007 Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appointed Sen. Zaffirini chair of the Senate Higher Education Subcommittee, vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and in 2008 he appointed her to the newly-created chair of Finance Higher Education Subcommittee.

Sen. Zaffirini is the first Hispanic woman to serve as senator in Texas and to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate and as Governor for a Day.


She is a member of the Senate’s Education, Health and Human Services and Administration Committees. She has served three consecutive terms as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, seven terms on the Appropriations Conference Committee, eight terms on the Senate Committee on Finance and 10 terms on the Senate Committee on Education.

Continuing her unique career-long 100 percent voting record since 1987, Sen. Zaffirini cast her 38,530th consecutive vote in 2007. She has sponsored and passed 581 bills and 51 substantive resolutions and co-sponsored and passed another 278 bills. Her legislative priorities include improving public education, higher education and health and human services.

Sen. Zaffirini has received more than 600 awards and honors for her legislative, public service and professional work, including more than 100 in communications.

Her 2008 awards include the Elected Official of the Year from the Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce for her support during the 80th Legislative Session; Best of the Texas Senate from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas for her support of the men and women of Texas law enforcement; and eight awards from the Press Women of Texas Association. 

She was named Long Term Care Champion by the Texas Health Care Association and Early Care and Education Champion by the Texas Licensed Health Care Association for her continued support in both organizations.

A distinguished communicator, educator and leader, Sen. Zaffirini holds bachelor of science, master of arts and Ph.D. degrees from UT Austin. She is an award-winning communication specialist with 13 years of teaching experience, including at the college and university levels.

She has been recognized by the Texas Public Relations Association with the Best of Texas Awards for her Governor for the Day event as well as her publication 20 Dozen Tips for Better Communication and Leadership Skills.

A lector at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and member of the Texas Philosophical Society and of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, her professional memberships include the Texas Press Women, Texas Public Relations Association, International Communication Association, Speech Communication Association and Association for Borderlands Studies.

Related Story: UT Tyler Offers All Students Tickets to Vicente Fox Lecture at No Charge


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