Texas A&M’s Vice President for Student Affairs Honored For Community Service
Surrounded by family, colleagues and friends, Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez Jr., USA (Ret.), Texas A&M University’s vice president for student affairs and former commandant of cadets, was honored by the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History last week at Miramont Country Club for his service to the community.
About 300 people attended the annual “Brave Heart” fundraising dinner to honor Ramirez, a 1979 graduate of Texas A&M. His involvement in the Brazos Valley community includes serving on numerous boards such as The United Way, The Salvation Army, Ronald McDonald House Charities, The Texas Veterans Association, the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra.
Through ticket sales, a raffle and live auction, the museum raised more than $200,000 to support its operations for the coming year. Ramirez and his wife Terry donated a Mexican dinner to be cooked and served at their home that brought in $30,000 during the auction.
The museum literally rolled out the red carpet for the Ramirezes, who arrived in a limousine and were greeted by dancers, entering the event through a saber salute by the Ross Volunteer Company.
Speakers included Master of Ceremonies Mike Wright; Johnny Burns, vice president of Lamar Advertising; Tom Reber, executive vice president and chief of staff for the Division of Student Affairs; Bobby Gutierrez, mayor of Bryan; Kenny Lawson, chief executive officer of C.C. Creations; and Royce Hickman, community liaison for the Bryan-College Station Chamber of Commerce.
“When I think about high integrity, I think about things that are above selfless service, things that you sacrifice for the good of others,” Lawson said. “I always think of Joe Ramirez and what he does for others.”
Burns, a Texas A&M classmate of Ramirez, also spoke of Ramirez’s big heart. “Joe has one of the biggest hearts I’ve encountered,” he said. “When called upon to serve, he’s all in, whether it’s serving his country, his family, his university, his community or his friends, Joe’s record of selfless service is one we should all aspire to.”
After a robust roasting, Bryan Mayor Bobby Gutierrez acknowledged Ramirez’s service to others. “You have made a major difference and done some things that will live on forever, and that doesn’t happen by accident,” Gutierrez said, “it happens because you have a true heart and do things for selfless reasons every single time. The reason people want you to talk is that you inspire people to do better and to do things they would never think of doing.”
Reber offered a review of “General Joe’s” legendary idioms. “People often ask me, ‘What’s it like working for a general?’” said Reber, who works alongside Ramirez daily on campus. “Aside from the orders we receive every day, using military time to schedule meetings, an influx of camo clothing in our work wardrobes, and an acquired taste of scotch and cigars, it’s just like working for any other leader.
“Joe is a gifted communicator who is sought after as a speaker at many different events. When we talk about Joe’s big brave heart, you can hear it in the words he speaks. For instance, he says, ‘When we put our plan into place, remember the enemy still gets a vote.’ Or when things are wrapping up on a big project we’ve been working on, you’ll hear this from Joe: ‘Get the torpedoes ready! Full speed ahead!’ And when we are granted a small amount of money for a project that needs 10 times as much, we can hear Joe grumble, ‘It’s like putting a Band-aid on a sucking chest wound.’”
When Ramirez took the podium, he said, “The fact that all of you turned out tonight is truly a blessing to me. Some of you I have known for more than half my life, and others I met when I arrived back in Aggieland and we’ve been friends ever since. I truly count all of you as a blessing in my life.
“When I came here in 2010, this was the first time in my life where I stayed in one place for more than a few years. When I joined the board of the United Way of Brazos Valley, I learned what so many people do for others in the community with little fanfare or recognition. I am honored and proud to be part of this. It’s my community now. This is where I plan to grow old and retire.”
The mission of the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History is to preserve and protect natural and cultural history, to stimulate its understanding, and to encourage responsible stewardship of all natural and cultural resources.