Distinguished Alumni



by Elaine Barnes

Coordinator, Alumni and Donor Communications


Dec. 20, 2019 (Kingsville, TX) – For the first time in its almost 50-year history, the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation announced a full roster with 21 members on its Board of Trustees. This announcement comes after the appointment of three new trustees: retired U.S. Air Force Col. Lisa Carrington Firmin, S. David Deanda Jr. and Alan Johnson.


The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation was founded in 1972 to work hand-in-hand with Texas A&M University-Kingsville to provide the necessary resources for students to have a quality education. The Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization that serves as the fundraising arm of the university, guided by a volunteer board whose chairman is selected by the president of the university.


Trustees are appointed to serve a term of four years, and may serve no longer than three terms, for a maximum of 12 years. All 21 trustees of the board are donors to the university, with the majority also being alumni of our institution.


"I would like to extend my personal welcome to each of the new board members and look forward to their contributions," stated retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, Foundation Chairman. "The Foundation’s ability to accomplish our mission is completely dependent upon alumni being willing to unselfishly give of themselves to support and enable the university and our students as they pursue a life-changing education. We must all be grateful for our new trustees' commitment to a better future for our university and students. It is truly impressive what our Governance Committee and current board members have done to ensure that we continue to identify successful and talented alumni that are willing to serve."   


Col. Carrington Firmin serves as the Associate Vice President for Veteran and Military Affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). As the Founder, CEO and Consultant at Carrington Firmin LLC, she provides consulting and training services in the areas of leadership, veterans, transitions, and diversity and inclusion. During her military service, Col. Carrington Firmin held a multitude of leadership roles and received numerous awards, retiring as the Air Force’s most senior ranking Latina officer.


Col. Carrington Firmin earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&I University in 1979. She graduated from Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in 1985 and earned her Master of Science degree in organizational behavior and human resource management from Chapman University in 1987. Col. Carrington Firmin also earned her Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from Air University and was an honor graduate of Air Command and Staff College, both at Maxwell Air Force Base.


S. David Deanda Jr. serves as the President of Lone Star National Bank, headquartered in McAllen, Texas. During his banking career, Deanda has served as a Loan Officer, Chief Operations Officer and First Vice President for several banking institutions in the South Texas region, until he was ultimately hired at Lone Star National Bank in 1993 as its Executive Vice President.


Deanda earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas A&I University in 1983 and studied at the Bank Operations Institute at East Texas State University and the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.


Alan Johnson served in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Corps Captain from 1972-1976. After his military service, he joined a Harlingen bank as a loan officer, eventually retiring as the president and regional manager of a large southern bank after an over 30-year banking career. He then assumed the role of President and CEO of the Valley Baptist Medical (Legacy) Foundation, growing their assets from $20 million to more than $300 million by his retirement only three years later.


Johnson also served as chairman of the Harlingen Port Authority for over two decades, growing the port to where it now supplies more than 70 percent of the gasoline for the Rio Grande Valley. He was appointed by former Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Veterans Land Board and was appointed by former Gov. George W. Bush to the Texas Turnpike Authority, as well. Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&I University in 1971.


The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation is in the midst of a comprehensive capital campaign, With You. Without Limits. The Campaign for Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and currently exceeds 90% of its campaign goal of $100 million in private support. This could not be achieved without the steadfast support of the Foundation Board Trustees. For more information about the impact of the campaign, please visit our website here.