Raised in a small Texas town, I was inspired by a high school Spanish teacher who taught me to love that language. As an undergraduate student at Southern Methodist University, I majored in Spanish and history, as well as pursuing secondary teaching certification. When I began my graduate studies at the University of North Texas, I combined my interests by acquiring a Master’s and Ph.D. in Latin American history under the supervision of Dr. Donald Chipman.
After receiving my doctorate, I was fortunate to find a position in a tight job market as an instructor at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, Texas, where I taught lower-level courses in Mexican, Texas, and U.S. history. In the early 1990s the merger of TSC with the University of Texas at Brownsville enabled me to teach upper-level and graduate courses as well. Having the opportunity to live on the Mexican border and teach a Hispanic student population proved a good fit for me. The highlights of my teaching career have included the gratification of helping students realize that history is exciting, not “boring,” helping prepare history majors to attend graduate school, and helping train many public school history teachers.
When my former major professor, Dr. Chipman, invited me to co-author a book on Spanish Texas, I was pleased to accept the invitation. That collaboration ultimately led to three books on the colonial period of Texas history, one of which was an award-winning publication.
Although I am pleased with what I have accomplished as a teacher and author, I am especially appreciative of my talented daughter, accomplished son-in-law, and two cherished grandchildren. They help to provide balance in my life. My daughter has even forgiven me for the bedtime stories she suffered though as a child—stories about topics such as the Conquest of the Aztecs and Indian captive Cynthia Ann Parker.