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   Scholarship fund

The family of a longtime Laredo educator has established a scholarship fund in her memory to honor her lifelong pursuit of expanding educational opportunities for students across Texas.


The Maria Irene Ramirez Irrevocable Trust established a scholarship fund to assist students with tuition, fees, books and other college expenses. The Irene and Graciela Ramirez Scholarship Fund is the second scholarship that she has funded at the college. In 1995, she established the Candelario & Isaura Ramirez Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of her parents.


This funding will be available through the Laredo College Donor Relations and Special Projects Office, which assists donors seeking to invest in higher education by helping students change their future through a quality education.


“We are honored that Dr. Maria Irene Ramirez’s steadfast commitment to education and passion for helping students will be memorialized through this scholarship fund at Laredo College,” LC Board President Lupita Zepeda said. “This trust will go a long way in making higher education accessible to many students who do not have the financial means to fund their education.”


During an intimate ceremony, family members, who serve as Trustees for the Maria Irene Ramirez Irrevocable Trust, gathered to present the check to Laredo College administrators and briefly shared the powerful impact and legacy Dr. Ramirez left behind. All of the Trustees who were in attendance included: Ed Ramirez Jr., Hector Ramirez, David Ramirez and Elsa Oviedo.


Dr. Maria Irene Ramirez was born on April 27, 1924, to Candelario and Isaura Elizondo Ramirez. She passed away on Sept. 27, 2020. She had a lifelong passion for education and dedicated her whole career toward advancing the field.


She was 17 when she was orphaned, along with her three brothers and sister. She and her sister, Graciela, took charge of running the house for the family. Her brothers–Candelario Hector, Gilberto and Edmundo–took care of the family businesses, which consisted of dry goods stores and a working ranch. Her brother, Fausto, was drafted and sent to England during World War II.


Irene, as she liked to be called, loved to teach, study and conduct research. She graduated in 1942, with high honors, from St. Augustine Catholic High School and later graduated from Laredo Junior College. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Kindergarten and Primary Education from Texas Women’s University. Later, at East Texas State University, she earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science and a Doctorate Degree in Education, Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction.


She started her career in Laredo as an elementary school teacher at McDonnell Elementary, where she worked from 1958 to1971. She then moved to Austin to work for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as a consultant in the Division of Curriculum Development from 1971 to 1984. At the TEA, Dr. Ramirez served as a member of the Texas Head Start Policy Advisory Board headquartered at Texas Tech University.


She was a proud descendant of Jose Cristobal Ramirez and Matiana Hinojosa Ramirez, who were among the founders of Mier, Tamaulipas, Mexico. As the family historian, her countless hours of research resulted in numerous documents, records and books that are treasured by her family.


In addition to her educational accomplishments, Dr. Ramirez earned many endorsements and certificates from the TEA. In 1984, she returned home to retire in Laredo and was an active member of the Webb County Chapter of the Retired Teachers Association and the Pan American Round Table of Austin and Laredo.