Historian to chair UIW’s role in San Antonio Tricentennial

The University of the Incarnate Word has named a professor emeritus of history to chair the UIW Steering Committee leading the university’s participation in San Antonio’s 300th birthday.

Dr. Gilberto Hinojosa, who has been teaching part time since 2010, will serve as liaison with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word’s congregational efforts led by Sister Mary Henry.

Hinojosa is a former dean of UIW’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and its School of Graduate Studies and Research. While working on his doctorate, he taught U.S. and Mexican American History at University of Texas campuses in Austin and San Antonio. After serving his dean roles, he returned to UIW’s classrooms in 2004.

Hinojosa has been author and editor-and-contributor of three books and has published articles and reviews in several state and national journals. Most of his scholarly work focuses on the formation of communities and cultural interaction. He has written on the San Antonio missions and on Mexican Americans and the Catholic Church.

In a question-and-answer format, Hinojosa shares more about his history at UIW.

Logos: How did you get interested in history?

Hinojosa: My brother, Eduardo, and I became historians because of the stories we heard at home. Our parents were both immigrants who, because of personal circumstances and historical developments in Mexico (the 1910 Revolution) and in the United States (the Great Depression), ended up marrying late. So by the time my brother and I were growing up, they were older and looking back on their lives. That included their reminiscing about their lives in Mexico and my father’s experience of working in the 1920s in St. Louis, Mo., which was a melting pot of various cultural groups. Their reflections of the past and in changes taking place in the Rio Grande Valley at mid-century instilled an interest in my brother and I to examine how American society was formed and how it worked.

   Logos: Where did you study?

Hinojosa: I went on to earn a (master’s degree) in history (St. Mary’s University, 1970) and later a doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin (1979). My specialty was the then-new field of study: Mexican American History. From my dissertation research, I wrote “A Borderlands Town in Transition: Laredo, 1755-1870,” showing how that community adapted as it changed under Spanish, then Mexican, and eventually American sovereignty.

Logos: What else have you researched?

   Hinojosa: A colleague, Gerald E. Poyo, and I co-authored an article on Borderlands historiography in The Journal of American History. Dr. Poyo and I then co-edited, and contributed chapters to Tejano Origins in Eighteenth Century San Antonio. Following that, I studied, and published articles on, the San Antonio missions. Later, Jay Dolan, a Notre Dame historian of the U.S. Catholic Church, and I co-edited “Mexican Americans and the Catholic Church, 1900-1965,” in which I authored one of three chapters.

Logos: What other kind of professional work have you done?

Hinojosa: I had the opportunity of curating the papers of Francisco Yturria, a Brownsville businessman who operated a store and a ranch from 1852 to the early 1900s. While organizing those documents, I did the research for the biography written by his great-grandson, Frank Daniel Yturria, “The Patriarch, The Remarkable Life and Extraordinary Times of Francisco Yturria.” Additionally, for several years, I wrote a weekly column for the San Antonio Express-News on Mexican-American history and culture. In sum, most of my scholarly work has focused on the formation of communities and on cultural interaction.

Logos: How did you get interested in the history of UIW?

As it turns out, our parents sent my brother and me to St. Joan of Arc School in Weslaco, where we were taught through the eighth grade by very dedicated Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. That experience and my interest in history led me to examine the development of our university and its mission, and this inspired me to join the Mission and Ministry Committee and to accept the offer to chair the UIW300 Committee, which will collaborate with the City of San Antonio Tricentennial Commission. UIW300 will work with the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and with Christus Health Care System in celebrating how the Sisters, UIW and Christus Santa Rosa have responded to the challenges of our changing city. Among our plans for the 2018 celebration of San Antonio’s 300 years of recorded history are proposals for conferences, cultural events, and opportunities to serve the San Antonio community. So, stay tuned.


Deadlines are fast approaching for participating in San Antonio’s Tricentennial celebration in 2018.

Participation may include arts and cultural events, service projects, education and other community initiatives.

Contact Dr. Gil Hinojosa at hinojosa@uiwtx.edu to discuss any ideas.



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