News Column

Professor Miriam Muniz-Quiz, a First

Nov. 22, 2012

Jesse Mendoza

College Grads

Miriam Muniz-Quiz has used guidance from her parents and grandparents to overcome obstacles she has encountered as a Hispanic woman; earlier this year she was named the first Hispanic woman to be awarded full professorship at Sul Ross State University-Rio Grande College.

Muniz-Quiz says she was born into one of the first families in Harlingen. She moved to Edinburg after finishing the seventh grade when her mother got a teaching position at Pan American University. Muniz-Quiz graduated from Edinburg High School and would attend both Texas State University in San Marcos and Pan American University, which she graduated from.

She said she taught in La Hoya for one year before going on a missionary trip to Brazil. She returned and taught second grade at the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district for a couple of years. She and her husband got married and after her father passed away she moved to Del Rio, where she has lived since 1987. She has been teaching since 1983 and has been with Sul Ross State University-Rio Grande College for 12 years now. At the beginning of the school year she became the first female Hispanic full professor there. She teaches education courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels at the university.

Muniz-Quiz said she hopes her success has opened the door for future generations to take advantage of the same opportunities afforded to her.

"Sul Ross is a state accredited institution that has been around almost going on 100 years," Muniz-Quiz said. "For me to be the first is exciting, but it also shows that we have a long way to go."

She credits her parents' demeanor when faced with adversity in their own lives for preparing her to face obstacles to her own personal success.

"They instilled that passion to push the envelope -- to question. For my sister and for myself they empowered us, they gave us that sense of worthiness, that sense that you are no less than anybody else," Muniz-Quiz said. "I forever am indebted to that."

She married her college sweetheart, Fernando Quiz, who she met in San Marcos while attending Texas State University in 1981. They had two children, their daughter Alyssa, 23, and their son Fernando Gabriel, 21. Fernando Gabriel died this January in an accident.

"I do a lot, not only for my daughter but also in memory of my son," Muniz-Quiz said.

Outside of work she reads, scrapbooks, and after about 23 years of trying she is determined to finally learn to play the guitar. Muniz-Quiz said she tried to learn to play the instrument before her daughter was born, but she has not managed to learn yet.

"My son was very gifted in music. In fact a couple of days prior to his passing we had talked about picking up the guitar together," Muniz-Quiz said.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas)

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