NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Pioneering Contributions: Ms. Hermila Anzaldua has spent her career expanding the educational opportunities for social work students in the Rio Grande Valley area and those who are interested in entering the field. Her passion for education manifested itself when she founded the Community Service Program at her alma matter, Pan American College in Edinburg, Texas. When Pan American merged with the University of Texas to form the University of Texas – Pan American (UTPA), it expanded the impact that the Social Work Program and Anzaldua could have on the social work community. The program was accredited in 1976 by CSWE, awarding 1,543 undergraduates with their BS in Social Work between 1991 and 2015. She joined efforts with fellow NASW Pioneer Max Siporin to begin the MSSW program, offering concentrations in Direct Practice with Latino Individuals, Families, and Groups and Community Practice and Administration. A major goal of this program was to spread the study of social work to communities beyond the UTPA campus that did not have social work programs, an initiative which began in 2010 when the social work program at Laredo Community College was founded. Anzaldua further helped the social work profession by serving on the NASW National Task Force on Baccalaureate Social Work Education from 1982-1984, as well as on the International Social Work Education Committee for the Council on Social Work Education from 1983-1984. She chaired the Competency Committee for the Texas Council for Social Work Certification in Austin, Texas for 2 years. Anzaldua’s contributions to the profession have spanned decades and have affected an immeasurable number of people across Texas.
Career Highlights: Anzaldua has spent 50 years working in various social work fields in Texas, from Child Protective Services to Community Mental Health at Tropical Texas Behavioral Health Center. She has spent time as a consultant and trainer for a handful of social service agencies where she helped families, children, and the elderly. Anzaldua served as the chair for the Professional Advisory Committee of the Easter Seals Society for Children and Adults, and assisted in the creation of the Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners. She served on the Committee of Aging for the NASW Texas Chapter, the Examination Committee for the American Association of State Social Work Boards, Texas Council for Social Work Certification, and Steering Committee for the local NASW Lower Rio Grande Valley.
Biographic Data: Anzaldua was born in McAllen, TX on September 7th, 1927. Her father was a sales representative and her mother a housewife and stay-at-home mom who raised Anzaldua and her five siblings. She received her BA in Social Sciences from Pan American College, Edinburg, TX, in 1957 and her MSW from Our Lady of the Lake University at San Antonio, TX in 1966. Anzaldua continues to give back to her community by volunteering at the St. Jude's Catholic Church Food Pantry. She has been a member of the National Association of Social Workers since 1965, and a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers since 1968.
Significant Achievements & Awards Received: Anzaldua was named Social Worker of the Year for the Rio Grande Valley Area by the South Texas Chapter of NASW in 1978. In 1996, she was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus from the Department of Social Work at UTPA and was named a Master Professor by faculty and the UTPA Alumni Association. Anzaldua was selected for the Social Work Pioneer Spirit Award by the South Texas Chapter of NASW. The University of Texas-Pan American established the Hermila Anzaldua Lecture Series Fund, an annual series of lectures, publications, and workshops on the subject of social work education and practice. Anzaldua was honored as the recipient of the Social Work Service Special Award by the local NASW Lower Rio Grande Valley branch. She has been recognized as a Social Work Mentor in the NASW Texas Newsletter.
Significant Publications: Anzaldua, Hermila, Delores Reed-Sanders and Robert Wrinkle. (1988). Coping Styles of Mexican-American Elderly. In Hispanic Elderly: A Cultural Signature. Edinburg, TX: Pan American University Press.
Anzaldua, Hermila, Delores Reed-Sanders and Robert Wrinkle. (1988). Analysis of Scales Measuring Self-Esteem, Life Satisfaction and Mastery for Hispanic Elderly. In Hispanic Elderly: A Cultural Signature. Edinburg, TX: Pan American University Press. Anzaldua, Hermila, Delores Reed-Sanders and Robert Wrinkle. (1988). Life Satisfaction Among
Hispanic Elderly. In Hispanic Elderly: A Cultural Signature. Edinburg, TX: Pan American University Press.