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Janiece Longoria, reappointed by Gov. Abbott to the University of Texas System Board of Regents

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FEATURED: Janiece Longoria of Houston, a renowned attorney who was born in McAllen and grew up in Pharr, was reappointed to the University of Texas System Board of Regents on Thursday, March 16, 2023, by Gov. Greg Abbott. In this image, Longoria is shown on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 after being honored by the Port Commissioners of the Port Authority of Houston for having volunteered on the Port Commission since 2002, including serving as its Chairman. Photograph Courtesy PORT OF HOUSTON FACEBOOK

Texas Border Business

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DAVID A. DÍAZ

Janiece Longoria of Houston, who has deep roots in the Rio Grande Valley, on Thursday, March 16, 2023 was reappointed by Gov. Greg Abbot to the University of Texas System Board of Regents.

The Board of Regents, the governing body for The University of Texas System – which includes UT Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine – is composed of nine members who are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

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In Texas, for an appointment by the governor to be confirmed, two-thirds of the 31-member Senate who are present must support that individual’s selection.

Longoria’s reappointment came after she had completed a previous six-year term in February 2023 as a member of the UT System Board of Regents. 

Longoria is a daughter of the late Sen. Raúl Longoria, D-Pharr, who was a civil rights activist in the Texas Legislature, both in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate, where he represented Hidalgo County.

Raúl Longoria was elected state representative in 1959, and elected state senator in 1972, before resigning in 1980, following his election as judge of the 139th Judicial District. He served on the bench until 1994, when he retired, according to records by Texas State Cemetery.

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According to the University of Texas System:

For nearly 140 years The University of Texas System has improved the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 13 institutions that enroll more than 244,000 students collectively, the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. 

UT institutions produce more than 68,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of undergraduate degrees in Texas and more than 60% of the state’s medical degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 10 million outpatient visits and more than 2 million hospital days each year. 

UT institutions are among the most innovative in the world, ranking No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the nation for federal research expenditures. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas – employing more than 116,000 faculty, health care professionals, and staff – and has an annual operating budget of $25.2 billion.

According to the governor’s office:

Longoria is a retired attorney. She has served on The University of Texas System Board of Regents since February 2017 and is a member of the UTIMCO Board of Directors. 

She is the former chair of the Port of Houston Authority. 

She is a co-founder of the Center for Women in Law and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Energy Center for Business, Law, and Policy at UT School of Law. 

She has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award and the President’s Citation for Distinguished Service from UT, as well as the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service from UT School of Law. 

Longoria received a Bachelor of Arts from UT Austin and a Juris Doctor from UT School of Law. 

In addition to Longoria, Abbott reappointed James C. “Rad” Weaver of San Antonio and appointed Robert Gauntt of Austin. 

All three regents have terms that are for six years.

Gauntt is the co-founder of Capital Creek Partners. He is a trustee of The University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) and former trustee of the Texas Teachers Retirement System. 

He is a member of The University of Texas (UT) Chancellor’s Council and UT McCombs School of Business Advisory Council. 

He is currently a board member of Little League Baseball – Williamsport PA, RBI Austin, The Contemporary Austin, and Ascend Mission Academy – Mozambique. Gauntt received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from UT Austin.

Weaver is CEO and chairman of CW Interests. He has served on The University of Texas System Board of Regents since February 2017 and currently serves as one of two Vice Chairman. Previously, he was appointed by Abbott as the presiding officer of the Alamo Regional Mobility Authority. 

He is a former director of the of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – San Antonio Branch and former chairman of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Weaver received a Bachelor of Business Administration from UT Austin.

The Center for Women in Law, which is part of the School of Law, The University of Texas at Austin, provides the following, more detailed background about Longoria:

Ms. Longoria is an honors graduate of the University of Texas, and received her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1979. 

She practiced law for 35 years starting with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, and then in private practice as a partner with Andrews & Kurth LLP, and Ogden Broocks Longoria & Hall LLP where she concentrated her practice in securities litigation. 

She has retired from the active practice of law and is focused on community leadership and board service.

After having served as a Commissioner since 2002, on January 8, 2013, she was unanimously appointed by the County of Harris and the City of Houston as the Chairman of the Port of Houston, the leading economic engine for the greater Houston region, and the most productive port in the nation. 

She is the first woman to hold this position in the 100 year history of the Port of Houston.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Superior Energy Services, Inc., a public company based in Houston which offers drilling and production related solutions to energy producers in domestic and select global markets. 

She served on the Board of Directors of Centerpoint Energy Inc., also based in Houston from 2005 through March 2018.

She is a member of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, that oversees nine academic and six health institutions across Texas including the flagship University of Texas at Austin, and the world renowned UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

She also formerly served on the UT System Board of Regents from 2008 through 2011.

She has been active in many non-profit organizations. 

Prior to being appointed to the UT System Board of Regents, she was the President-Elect of the Texas Exes, and served on the Board of Directors and the executive committee of the Board of Visitors of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

She also served on the board of directors of the University of Texas Law School Foundation, and the Texas Medical Center.

She has also served on the Board and Executive Committee of the Greater Houston Partnership.

She is also a founder of the Center for Women in Law, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for energy, business, and law at the University of Texas School of Law.

She received the UT Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013, an award granted to UT alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the University of Texas. 

In 2016 she received the prestigious President’s Citation, awarded by the President of the University of Texas to alumni who have served the University of Texas with distinction. 

In 2017 she received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Public Service from The University of Texas School of Law.

For her service to Port Houston, maritime transportation, and the Maritime industry, she was named the Maritime Person of the Year in 2017 by the Greater Houston Port Bureau. 

In June 2018 she was recognized by The Bay Area Houston Transportation Partnership with the Charles A. Jacobson Transportation Award, that is awarded each year to a community leader who has made a substantial contribution to the greater Houston region.

She was selected by Direct Women, an initiative of the American Bar Association, the ABA Section of Business Law and Catalyst, Inc., as a recipient of the 2008 Sandra Day O’Connor Board Excellence Award, and has been named by Texas Diversity Magazine as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in Texas.”

She has also received other honors and recognitions for her community leadership from various organizations including Communities in Schools and Crisis Intervention of Houston.  

She and her husband Steve Lasher were honored in 2016 with the Pathlighter Award from Houston Achievement Place. 

She was also named the Female Executive of the Year by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2010), received the Community Service Award from the Hispanic Chamber in 2016, and was recognized as a “breakthrough woman” and inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce in 2013. 

She is a frequent speaker on topics including the Port of Houston, leadership, and community service.

••••••

Catherine Frazier contributed to this article.

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