Senior Vice President of Government & Community Relations
Veronica Gonzales is a recognized leader in the public and private sectors, having over 20 years of experience in negotiating and advocating to obtain results – as an attorney, mediator, state legislator, fundraiser and since 2012, working for UTPA and later The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley heading up Governmental and Community Relations. In her role, Veronica oversees local, state and federal governmental relations, community engagement, and workforce and economic development offices. In 2004, voters elected Veronica to serve as the first female to represent the Rio Grande Valley in the Texas House of Representatives. She served four terms, two of which as Chairman of the Border & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, only one of 34 chairs out of 150 members. Veronica has received numerous awards and recognitions including being named one of eight “Ultimate Latinas” in the nation by The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a “Woman of Distinction” by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC), a Distinguished Alumni by both her high school and her college alma mater, Texas State University, “Woman of the Year” by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, a “Woman of Distinction” by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a “Woman Making History” by the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas. Veronica was the first in her family to go to college and credits education for her success and the many opportunities she has received. Veronica holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Southwest Texas State University and a law degree from The University of Texas at Austin. She is active in her community and sits on numerous boards. She is married to Rick Villarreal, a local business owner, and is stepmother to three children and grandmother to five grandchildren.