Dr. Antonio Zavaleta, Dr. Phillip Kendall, Rachel Barrera and Jose Duarte attended the October Fiesta in Espinazo, Nuevo León from Friday, Oct. 17th through Saturday, Oct. 18th. The October Fiesta took place on the Wednesday, October 15th until Sunday, 19th.
During the day, penitentes filled the streets along with groups paying homage to the Niño Fidencio. The groups varied from very small with only the penitente and a few members to very large which included matachine dancers, a materia, singers, and dozens of members dressed in their regalia.
Friday evening, there were fireworks in front of the tomb of El Niño Fidencio. The streets were filled with spectators. Afterwards, groups hired musicians to play for their pilgrims. Additionally, there was also a dance on Thursday and Friday night.
Saturday morning was a very special time because Panita and her missions gathered at La Dicha. The members of the missions formed two large circles, with an inner circle of the standards and flags. In the middle, Panita and the materias kneeled or sat as the Niño in Panita presented the homily. Everyone listened attentively to the message of El Niño which stressed friendship, love for each other and humility of materias that channel the Niño Fidencio. He also offered blessings to all who were there, to those that could not be there and to all those in need.
Dr. Tony Zavaleta grew up in Brownsville and is a member of one of the 13 founding families of northern Mexico. He is the nephew of Dr. Joe Zavaleta and Prax Orive, each of whom served on the TSC Board.
Dr. Zavaleta graduated from Saint Joseph Academy in 1964 and entered Texas Southmost College, graduating and transferring to The University of Texas at Austin in 1966, where he completed a Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1976. Moving back to Brownsville in 1976, Dr. Zavaleta began teaching sociology and anthropology at Texas Southmost College and at Pan American University at Brownsville. Dr. Zavaleta became the first Dean of the College of Liberal Arts for UTB/TSC, and also served as the Dean of the College of Mathematics and Science and Technology. He next served as Vice President for Partnership Affairs, where he coordinated all of the work between the TSC Board and UTB, and then became the Vice President for External Affairs, which included governmental relations and all external programs such as Workforce Training and Continuing Education. Dr. Zavaleta served as Interim Provost, the chief operating officer of UTB/TSC, and then as the Associate Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In 2011 he retired from the administration to return to full-time teaching. Dr. Zavaleta retired in May 2016 after 40 years of service.
Dr. Zavaleta is regarded as one of the top experts on the US-Mexico Border, and frequently speaks throughout Mexico and the U.S. Dr. Zavaleta was appointed to two Federal commissions by Presidents Reagan and Obama, and he served two terms on the Brownsville City Commission, followed by a term on the City of Brownsville Civil Service Commission.