A Legacy of Education at Texas A&M
Irma Alvarado graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s in education. She is known as one of the first Hispanic female graduates of Texas A&M. Now, she is focused on using that education to inspire others.
“One of the most important goals in my life is to be an educational role model and to inspire, encourage and instill leadership skills in the lives of those I touch – whether it is at work, home or with my family,” said Alvarado.
When Alvarado decided to attend Texas A&M, it was difficult for women to be admitted. A resolution was adopted in 1925 prohibiting the admission of female students. In 1963, the Board of Directors agreed to allow women to enroll on a “limited basis” meaning the wives and daughters of faculty, staff and students were allowed.
Alvarado’s high school sweetheart, Erasmo ‘69, was a student at the time. They married and she was admitted. However, before Alvarado graduated, she was part of history. In 1969, women were allowed to enroll with no restrictions.
Alvarado shared classes with mostly men, but she did not let that bother her. She focused on her mission to graduate.
“Some students were comfortable with me, others were not. Some opened the doors, others did not. I did not care. It was sink or swim for me, and I wanted to swim,” said Alvarado.
She remembers the dedicated and passionate professors in her education courses. The classes were small, so she appreciated being able to learn in small groups with a lot of accountability among classmates.
Alvarado completed her student teaching in Bryan ISD. She credits that experience, along with her professors, for the confidence and affirmation that she made the right decision to teach.
“I am truly thankful to the College of Education for instilling the values and pushing my quest for knowledge and research,” said Alvarado. “I am also thankful to Texas A&M for the core values that enhanced my upbringing. The demand for excellence and core values are very much a part of my DNA.”
Alvarado’s love for Texas A&M is infectious. By sharing that passion, she prompted 12 family members to attend Texas A&M, including two grandchildren currently enrolled.
After Texas A&M
Alvarado was offered her first teaching job at Donna ISD the day she graduated from Texas A&M. She said the interview happened over the phone and she was offered the job because her “diploma was more than enough.” She taught 30 English as a Second Language students.
Since then, Alvarado has been a teacher, counselor, supervisor, director of education and an educational entrepreneur. She has been involved in developing curriculum and instruction for ESL, gifted and talented, and GED students. She also developed lesson plans for state counseling pilot programs in the Rio Grande Valley.
Alvarado is currently a business partner with Alvarado Architects, Inc. alongside her husband and son.
She continues her legacy through leadership and mentoring while promoting students success. Alvarado also serves in various associations across the state.
“It is a great honor to promote and teach leadership skills and my passion for this will always be in the forefront of my legacy story – touching lives now so that the future of those behind me will forever be impacted.”
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