Several scholarships helped bring Gilbert Montez to Angelo State, and the journalism degree he earned in 1980 helped launch him on a diverse and impressive career.
A San Angelo native, Montez graduated from Lake View High School and then worked fulltime while attending classes at ASU and working on the Ram Page student newspaper. His favorite memory of ASU is simply being on campus.
“There is a feeling on the campus of enlightenment, of new, of learning, of opportunity,” Montez said. “I felt that way from the very first day I was on campus, and I still get that feeling when I return to campus these many years later. ASU always feels like home to me.”
“My time at ASU also instilled confidence in me,” he added. “With God’s help, I realized then that a Hispanic young man who applied himself, worked hard and took advantage of opportunities could be successful.”
His first success was as a sports writer and sports editor for the local Standard-Times newspaper. He then veered into corporate communications for companies like Verizon and Sabre Holdings, and then shifted again into the nonprofit sector, where he served in pastoral and leadership positions at The Village Church and the Bucker International global family services agency in the Dallas area.
“When God comes calling, you don’t say no,” Montez said. “I enjoyed my time in the corporate world. I learned a lot, some of which I still rely heavily on today. But, there is nothing that I’ve experienced like giving back and serving others. That’s when life really matters. I hope I’ve made a difference in a few lives.”
“I know some of the past honorees, and I’m blown away that my name is among them now.”
Today, Montez continues to make a difference as president and CEO of the Christian Community Action family and community services agency in Lewisville.
“The nonprofit world is as challenging as any job I’ve ever had, but it’s also been the most rewarding I’ve ever had,” he said. “When you see someone go from hopeless to hope-filled, when you see someone gain some traction in life and you begin to see real change in them – there’s nothing like that in this world.”
For his stellar career accomplishments and dedicated service to the global community, the ASU Alumni Association has named Montez its 2023 Distinguished Alumnus.
“I know some of the past honorees,” he said, “and I’m blown away that my name is among them now. I feel like I did during my sophomore year of high school football when midway through the season, I got called up to the varsity. I wasn’t really sure what I had done to deserve it, but I was sure glad to be there.”
Montez and his wife, Beyla (Class of 1976), have two married daughters, Angela and Elizabeth, and five grandchildren who they have dubbed the “Fab Five” – Eli, Hannah, Jaxon, Nate and Olivia. His brother, Daniel (Class of 2005), is also an ASU alum.