The Gift that Keeps on Giving

October 11, 2021 Mary Burke
Homero Gonzalez

Homero Gonzalez

Former Hardin-Simmons University Board Member, Homero Gonzalez had a deep commitment to the future of young people and was an advocate for Christian higher education.

“He encouraged so many young people to attend HSU, advised them on scholarships available, and encouraged them to set goals and be to simply be the best they could be,” his wife Jacqueline shared in a 2001 Range Rider.

Upon his passing in 1995, Gonzalez’s family established a scholarship in his memory. The scholarship continues to benefit students seeking higher education in business, with preference given to students who identify as Hispanic.

Gonzalez retired from the U.S. Air Force at the rank of Lt. Col. after 21 years and continued to serve his community in various roles.  As early as 1978, The Brand advertised Gonzalez as a guest speaker on campus for student events.

He was involved in the Abilene community as a member of the nominating committee for the Citizens for Better Government, the Texas Employment Commission advisory council 1984-1992, the Kiwanis Club of Abilene, the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, the U.S. Air Force Association, and the Abilene Institute of Banking. In addition, Gonzalez was president of the Mexican American Citizens for Success and served on many boards, including HSU’s. Gonzalez was Vice President of Cash Management, Correspondent Banking, and Security, and spent 23-years with First National Bank of Abilene.

Scott Dueser, chairman and CEO of First Financial Bank, shared in 2001, “I can think of no better way to honor the life of this fine man than by supporting a scholarship that will live throughout the life of HSU, an intuition Gonzalez loved. I want our employees, friends, and customers to be aware of this opportunity to pay tribute to a great employee, outstanding citizen, loyal friend, devoted husband, father, and grandfather. We were honored to have Homero as a part of the First National Bank Family.”

Thalia Guerrero

Thalia Guerrero

Homero Gonzalez passed away October 13, 1995, and he continues to positively impact Hardin-Simmons University students.

Thalia Guerrero is the current recipient of the Homero A. Gonzalez Endowed Memorial Scholarship. Guerrero is a junior accounting major from Bellville, Texas and member of the Cowboy Band.

She followed her brother, Gustavo Guerrero, to HSU after “seeing the spiritual growth and community [her] brother gained from attending HSU.”  She chose to pursue a business degree “because of the variety of career opportunities and wide range of career paths.”

Thalia with the Cowboy Band

Like Gonzalez, Guerrero is a leader and looks to her lineage for inspiration. I identify with my Hispanic heritage and use it as a source of motivation because the opportunity to pursue higher education is one that is not common in my family. My parents did not graduate high school and did not have the opportunity to go to college. My brother and I will be first generation college graduates by next year.”

“Receiving the Homero Gonzalez Endowed Memorial scholarship has impacted me in a way that hits close to home. One thing I struggled with was whether or not to go to college. The main reason was because of finances, but people like Homero Gonzalez, who want nothing but the best for people like me, are the reason I chose to go to school. Without HSU, I never would have taken the opportunity to learn not only the required curriculum but about different cultures, values, and the importance of education enlightened by faith.”