On July 7, 2022, Juliet V. García, former longtime president of The University of Texas at Brownsville, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the prosperity, values, or security of the United States, world peace, or other significant societal, public, or private endeavors. García was presented with her award by President Joe Biden during a ceremony at the White House.

García, a Brownsville native, was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a college president in the United States. As president of The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB), she pioneered a partnership between UTB and Texas Southmost College, where she also served as president from 1986–1992. She stepped down as president of UTB in 2014 upon the establishment of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she continues to teach communications.

From 2006 to 2011, García served on the Humanities Texas board of directors. In 2012, she made it possible for Humanities Texas to hold a residential summer institute on the UTB campus, serving teachers from school districts throughout the Valley.

To learn more about Juliet V. García and the other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, visit the White House website.

President Joe Biden presents the Medal of Freedom to Dr. Juliet Garcia in the East Room of the White House, July 7, 2022. Official White House photo by Adam Schultz.