Valley women reappointed to Texas Historical Commission

Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Monica Zárate Burdette, Lilia Garcia, David Gravelle, John L. Nau, III, and Tom Perini of the Texas Historical Commission for terms set to expire on Feb. 1, 2027.

Lilia Garcia, of Raymondville, is a lecturer of history at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is also involved in the Early College Program through UTRGV bringing college level courses to high school students for full college credit. She was formerly on faculty at Saint Joseph’s Academy in Brownsville, teaching art history, Texas history and AP US history. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Museum of South Texas, member of the Brownsville Historical Association, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

Garcia received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Ibero-American studies and a Master of Arts in history from Southern Methodist University. Garcia attended Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, England, where she did post graduate work in art and art history and later worked for Christie’s in New York City. She has been published in various history journals, as well as been a speaker throughout Texas focusing on the dynamics of South Texas and various South Texas individuals. In addition, Garcia is a fifth generation Texas rancher.

Monica Zarate Burdette, of Rockport, is the former owner and chef at The Inn at El Canelo Ranch in Kenedy County. She is a former board member of the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg, where she chaired the committee that produced “Mesquite Country,” a cookbook which won a national award. She also chaired the committee that founded the “Wild in Willacy” Nature Festival of the Raymondville Chamber of Commerce. Burdette has retired to Rockport and continues to engage in various historical preservation efforts around Aransas and Kenedy Counties.

Also renamed to the commission were John L. Nau III, chairman and CEO of Silver Eagle Beverages, one of the nation’s largest distributors of Anheuser-Busch products; Tom Perini of Buffalo Gap is the owner/operator of Perini Ranch Steakhouse; and David Gravelle of Dallas is a branding/marketing consultant.

The commission provides leadership and coordinates services to support projects commissioned by county historical commissions, historical societies, agencies and institutions interested in the preservation of archeological and historical heritage. The commission also acts as a clearinghouse and historical information center.