RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas – South Texas College Board of Trustee Chair Rose Benavidez has been elected chair of the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Board of Directors.

She is the first Latina to hold this distinguished position in the organization’s more than 50-year history.

According to ACCT, Benavidez, a Starr County native, will serve on the national stage, working with top leadership in the nation from the White House to Congress and the U.S. Department of Education advocating for higher education and championing the students of the Rio Grande Valley.

“This is a great honor and a greater responsibility,” said Benavidez. “Today we broke barriers and a glass ceiling for all the other women and girls like me that are to come. It’s a privilege having this type of platform to address local and regional issues in higher education, economic progress and workforce development.” She added, “We have national attention, and we must ensure we address our needs, highlight our successes and the transformational impact we are having in our communities across the RGV.” 

From the South Texas College news release:

ACCT is a non-profit educational organization of governing boards, representing more than 6,500 elected and appointed trustees who govern over 1,200 community, technical and junior colleges in the United States.

The organization’s mission is to promote high-quality and affordable higher education, cutting-edge workforce and development training, student success and the opportunity for individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency and security, that aligns with Benavidez’s local vision.

“At STC, we believe access to higher education should be for everyone and that every resident is entitled to educational and career success whether it’s through academic programs or technical/workforce training,” Benavidez said. “It’s a basic need and a basic right.” 

Benavidez follows in her late father’s footsteps, Manuel Benavidez, who was a founding STC Board of Trustee. He served in ACCT as Chair of Diversity Committee, selected as a Regional Trustee of the Year and ultimately received an ACCT Lifetime Membership Award in 2005 for his leadership. 

The younger Benavidez was first elected to the ACCT Board in 2017 representing ACCT’s western region and like her father, served as chair of the Diversity Committee. 

“I knew of my dad’s efforts and leadership growing up and admire everything he accomplished. Being elected to the STC board made his vision clear and helped me establish a foundation to strengthen my resolve to expand access and create opportunities in our community.”

During her tenure with ACCT, Benavidez has successfully participated in advocating for increased federal funds for higher education, alignment of skills training with meaningful wage employment and the promotion of student success across the United States, Canada, Europe and the Pacific Islands.

Benavidez is committed to improving the economic standing and quality of life for her region, continues to find innovative ways to solve issues affecting her community and leads by example through volunteerism and service to countless local, regional, state and national non-profit and civic organizations and charities.

Benavidez currently serves as the President of the Starr County Industrial Foundation, a non-profit organization founded and supported by local government and business leaders committed to developing the local economy.

For her contributions she has also been inducted into the Rio Grande Valley Walk of Fame, received the “State of Texas Women of Distinction Award” from the Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) and most recently honored as a Woman of Distinction by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. 

STC President Ricardo Solis said Benavidez’s work has given STC a national spotlight and it’s an honor that she is a part of the STC family. 

“Her leadership, tireless advocacy for our region and students and her efforts toward advancement for our college is invaluable,” said Solis. “We congratulate her on this great achievement.”

Benavidez said all of this has been possible due to the support she receives daily from family, friends and the community she serves. 

“I am fortunate to have the trust of the residents I serve, and I will use my voice, our collective voice, to ensure that our community’s priorities aren’t overlooked,” she said. “I am humbled, and I will continue to work hard every day to lead advancements in our community.”

Benavidez will serve as chair of the ACCT for a one-year term.   

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