Amanda Jane Arizola, BA '03, MBA '10
I remember the first time I stepped on the UT campus; it was about 8am when we arrived in front of Jester after having been on the road since 4:30am from Fort Worth on a high school college campus day trip. This was the first time that I had gone on a trip without a relative and with a great group of friends and teachers. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of shape as we took the tour of the 40 Acres, but also knowing instantly that this was the campus that would offer the most opportunities for me and am I glad to have followed that instinct. The time that I spent on campus was the best growing and learning experience of my life.
UT was where I…
...was allowed to stretch my learning potential under amazing professors/mentors that are still teaching me to this day.
…created friendships that go beyond sisterhood into whole family life by rushing Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Incorporated a Latina Community Service Sorority as a freshmen and having the opportunity of having a wide range of friends that went beyond sorority life.
…was nurtured by the power of community and activism from strong organizations such as National Hispanic Institute, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and Las Comadres Para Las Americas.
…am part of an alumni network that is so strong that I can be on the other side of the world and still meet either a Texas EX or someone connected to the University of Texas at Austin.
Being a Texas Ex has led to wonderful career opportunities such as working as a Legislative Aide for Senator Rodney Ellis as a Gregory Luna Legislative Scholar; working for amazing attorneys at Long Burner Parks & DeLargy and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; Program Coordinator for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program with Foundation Communities Dallas; State Director for the historic CHIMES Consortium which helped implement the Affordable Care Act in 220 counties in Texas at the United Way of Tarrant County; and most recently finding fulfilling work as the Program Manager of Financial Stability at Catholic Charities Fort Worth where our team of bundled services is working to eradicate poverty with intensive case management, specialized services and financial coaching. On my desk stands a Longhorn piggy bank that a great friend and fellow Texas EX gave to me that serves as a reminder of the amazing opportunities that the faculty, staff, peers, mentors and community so willingly gave to a young Latina. I hope to continue this legacy of mentorship and giving through the young women that come across my path.
2015 Alumni Profiles
Cisco Guzman, BA '04, Economics
"My favorite memory when I was a student at UT was when I saw Ricky Williams break the NCAA rushing record on Thanksgiving Day against A&M."
As a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Cisco Guzman is both diligent in his wealth management practice and committed to the profession. He joined the firm in 2014 after 8 years of serving as a financial advisor at a large Texas based bank. With over a decade of experience, he manages the finances of a select group of families in the Austin area. Cisco Guzman’s area of expertise is managing the investments of business executives and their families in order to avoid any financial blind spots that might occur.
Cisco is also interested in helping local startups navigate the complex issues they face from the ground up. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, Cisco worked at Frost Wealth Advisors from 2005 to 2013. He worked with various Texas families to manage their trust and estates through fee based investments. At Frost, Cisco was known as an expert in the implementation of managed solutions for high net worth clients. Besides being a financial advisor, Cisco Guzman sells commissioned pieces of furniture as a woodworker. When he is not in his workshop covered in saw dust on the weekends, you will find Cisco with his partner, Allyson, trying the newest foodie or brewery destinations in Austin. Due to his love of food and beer, you will also find Cisco running the trails on Town Lake.
Cisco Guzman was born in Victoria, Texas and raised in Austin. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics at The University of Texas at Austin in 2004. Along with a degree in economics, Cisco also holds a Series 7 & 66 Securities License, Insurance License, and Nationwide Mortgage License (NMLS). At Merrill Lynch Cisco also holds the Portfolio Advisor designation. Cisco and Allyson volunteer and support many local non-profits that they are passionate about including The Ronald McDonald House where he is on the Leadership Council. They also support The Blanton Museum, The Austin Symphony Orchestra as well as Allyson’s favorite non-profit, Girls Empowerment Network (GENaustin) where she works.
Cisco previously chaired the Pre-Game FIESTA weekend coming at UT game Saturday, September 26, 2015.
Consuelo Suarez Lopez, MA '53, Liberal Arts
Consuelo Suarez Lopez’s favorite University of Texas memory occurred at her first Longhorn football game. “How did I ever get here?” mused Consuelo as she joined thousands of other roaring fans at Memorial Stadium. In 1955 there were very few Mexican-American women in Consuelo’s shoes.
The answer to that question captures the wonder of Consuelo’s improbable life journey and a life-changing stop at the University of Texas.
To say that her route was implausible is an understatement. Born to Mexican immigrants Manuel and Feliza Suarez in Robstown, she attended a Mexican-American only elementary school. But by the time she reached partially integrated Robstown High School she established herself as the family’s trailblazer. The fifth born child in her humble family, she was the first of her siblings to graduate high school and the first to attend and finish college. After graduating third in her class at the age of 16 in 1952, she was resigned to skip college and apply to business school for secretarial training. Her Robstown band director, the renowned Harold Luhman, appreciated her academic and musical potential and helped her obtain a scholarship to the Del Mar College music department in Corpus Christi.
Once enrolled at Del Mar College, she sound found employment with Dr. Hector Garcia, the visionary physician who founded the American G.I. Forum. Working for Dr. Garcia she learned about his selflessness and his tireless advocacy for civil rights.
At Del Mar she moved from second chair to first after legendary clarinetist Henry Cuesta ventured out on his legendary career. Cuesta was eventually featured as part of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra.
Consuelo transitioned from the Del Mar music program and enrolled in summer classes at UT in the summer of 1955. She attended classes in the fall of 1955, spring of 1956 and graduated Cum Laude with a bachelor of music education at the end of the 1956 summer session. In the spring of 1956 she received permission from the administration to take a grueling course load of 20 hours.
During her tenure on the UT campus she performed with the University Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of Dr. R. Bernard Fitzgerald. She also pledged Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional musical fraternity. More importantly, she was awarded Dean’s List recognition, with publication of that feat to her hometown newspaper.
Like many students of the time, she lived at a co-op on campus where she shared chores and duties with other residents. She found work at the music building box office under Lillian Sellers.
The Texas campus brought the beginning of familial riches when fellow music student Elpidio Lizcanco introduced Consuelo to Longhorn band member Gregorio Lopez Jr. of Laredo at the Alba Club. This social club started in the fall of 1946 when Mexican-American students banded together to promote cultural and social interests and to confront the discrimination faced by Spanish-speaking people in the state. The club's sponsors were education professor Dr. George I. Sánchez and history professor Dr. Carlos E. Castañeda, the two references given to Consuelo by Dr. Hector Garcia before she left to Austin. Consuelo and Gregorio danced that evening and began a relationship that would bud into a marriage that continues 58 years later.
With her Texas diploma in hand Consuelo began her teaching career with a two- year stint in the Austin Independent School District. There she taught beginning band and strings at seven Austin schools with Maxine Williams, wife of famous composer and Texas music professor Clifton Williams. Among her students was a son of Texas governor Allan Shivers.
Consuelo fondly remembers her clarinet professor John McGrosso co-signing a $250.00 car note and her soon to be husband Gregorio teaching her how to drive a standard transmission on the perilous sloping streets of Austin.
After a short move to Waco, her next teaching assignment was at Laredo Independent School District where she completed a 40 year career in music education. During her 30 plus years in Laredo she taught close to 6,000 students, and nary a day goes by that she doesn’t run into one of those students, now productive citizens in this border town. Bobby Castro, once her elementary student and now the band director of the sweepstakes winning Laredo Martin High band says of Consuelo “By far the she is the best teacher I ever had. I have pictures to prove that she saw something in me and that she found a way for me to participate in every play and every concert when I was in elementary school. She is a big influence on me being the band director at my alma mater. At a young age I knew she really cared for her students. And now I find myself emulating how she cared about each one of her students and how brought us the joy of music. I did ten years of elementary music because I wanted to be like her.” “She continues to be my inspiration,” said Castro.
In Laredo, Consuelo and Gregorio raised and educated five loyal Texas fans, four who also attended the University of Texas. Her adult children Armando, Stephen, Michael, Gregorio and Cindy each have their profound links to the university. And the love of the University of Texas has percolated down to their thirteen grandchildren.
Outside work and home, Consuelo served as president of the Laredo chapter of the American Association of American Women and the Tuesday Music and Literature Club. She was a regent of the Catholic Daughters -St. Mary Magdalene Court. She was also a twelve year member of Casa Misericordia (Domestic Violence Shelter, a member of Laredo- Webb County Retired Teachers of Association and Delta Kappa Gamma. She and her husband Gregorio have both been recognized as volunteer of the year at the domestic violence shelter.
Her weekends were full of service at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church where she taught religion classes and served as choir director for more than 20 years.
Now 80 years old, Consuelo summarizes her University Texas legacy in this simple description. “It became an example for the rest of the family; no one had ever attended college before.”
And what did she teach her students, family and friends?
“Nothing is impossible.”
Marc A. Rodriguez, MPAFF '85, Public Affairs
As a Government Relations Consultant, Marc A. Rodriguez has achieved a legacy of tenacity and an admirable work ethic, attributed to his humble beginnings as a busboy, to achieving Ivy League graduate status, and to now being regarded as a successful and admired entrepreneur. Citing perseverance, effective communication, and execution as hallmarks of any successful executive, Mr. Rodriguez continually strives to demonstrate these traits in every aspect of his life.
Mr. Rodriguez’s professional experience includes working with a prestigious list of clients from both the private sector and public sector: Apple Computer, Oracle, City of San Antonio, Bexar County, CPS Energy, Gerson-Lehman Group, San Antonio Water System (SAWS), Texas Water Quality Association (TWQA), VIA Metropolitan Transit Authority. Brooks Development Authority, to name a few.
Previously, Mr. Rodriguez worked as a government relations consultant with Lloyd, Gosselink, Blevins, Baldwin & Townsend, P.C. as the firm expert on the legislative process and advocacy, and served as a lobbyist for various clients. He also worked as a planner and intergovernmental relations manager for the City of San Antonio, Texas, and was vice president for governmental affairs for the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
In his work as a government relations consultant, he uses his personal experience as an entrepreneur to identify with and understand his clients' industry challenges. Clients also benefit from his expertise as a political advisor, analyst, strategist and tactician. Mr. Rodriguez has worked on state legislative issues for the last 10 consecutive Texas state legislative sessions and has a professional history of representing entities with elected and appointed boards. Mr. Rodriguez has also served on numerous nonprofit boards of directors including: Austin Area Research Organization (AARO), Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, United Way of Central Texas, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, and the Southwest Human Services Corporation.
Marc is presently the owner of government relations consulting firm and President of TOPE Development, a real estate company. As former chairman of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Rodriguez used his skills as a professional advocate to affect change at local, state and national levels in order to create professional and entrepreneurial opportunities that generate wealth and prosperity for families and communities. Marc holds a B.A. in Urban Affairs and Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Public Administration from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas. Mr. Rodriguez is married to Jennifer Rodriguez and has four beautiful daughters, Alyssa (16), Bella (11), Carmen (10), and Danielle (8).
Natalie C. Villarreal, BA '99, Psychology
As Alumni Coordinator at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas , Natalie C. Villarreal, works towards the advancement of the Alumni Association connecting alumni to the college and raising funds for scholarships.
As a licensed psychotherapist and counselor, Natalie has worked with individuals dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, and Anxiety. She is now part of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
In 2011, she was privileged to join the Junior League of Corpus Christi where she served on the Public Relations Committee for 2013-2014. She has also served on the JLCC board as an At-Large Member and was chosen to attend the Junior League Organizational Development Institute Conference (ODI) in 2013.
Natalie is also a proud volunteer for the Buc Days Rodeo as a “Sweetheart” and devotes much of her time to helping other organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Corpus Christi Youth Cathedral Choir, St. Patrick’s School, and the Corpus Christi Ballet. As a counselor, Natalie volunteered her time with teenage mothers at Miller High School and mothers at Bay Area Birth Center.
A proud Longhorn Alumni, she volunteers with Exes for Texas and has given time to career advancement at her hometown high school. As President of the Orange Grove High School Alumni Association in 2010-2012, she created a scholarship on behalf of the OGHS Alumni Association.
Natalie grew up in the small town of Orange Grove, TX. She graduated from Orange Grove High School in 1995 and went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999. As a student, she worked in the Men’s Athletics Office and the Men’s Basketball summer camp. She also volunteered at the Texas Relays in the Spring. After graduation, she stayed in Austin and earned a Master’s Degree in Counseling from St. Edward’s University in 2002. During that time, she worked for the University of Texas, Men’s Athletics Academic Office.
After living in Austin for 12 years, she relocated to Corpus Christi. She and her husband Eric have 3 beautiful children, Ezra(11), Eli(8), and Carmen(2) and enjoy in the Sparkling City by the Bay where she was just honored with the CC Under 40 Award.
“ONE of my many favorite memories was sitting in the front lawn of the UT Tower on a beautiful sunny day. I would go in between classes and lay out and study. It was so fun to watch everyone walking by. I felt like I was in the middle of the world!”