This past November the 18th the University of Texas Pan American now the University of South Texas unveiled the gift that John Cantu gave them. It was a life size statue of Jose de Escandon the founder of Las Villas del Norte. Jose de Escandon’s main goal was to colonize el Nuevo Santander. According to Guillermo Garmendia Leal’s book “Fundadores de Tamaulipas 1748 – 17770” Jose de Escandon stablished 16 Villas.
I recently had lunch with Mr Cantu and my friend Mario Davila. During this lunch Mr. Cantu stated that he commissioned Escandon’s statue to make him look young and of how he might have had looked in 1749 when he started his efforts in the colonization of what we now know as las Villas del Norte (Present day Northeastern Mexico and South Texas). He also mentions that his main motive for the donation was his mother. He stated that she was a very strong advocate for Hispanic education and heritage.
Pictures Taken During the Unveiling by Mario Davila:
Mr. Cantu is the Second from left. Unfortunately I do not have the names of the other gentlemen in the picture.
Next time you are in Edinburg, Texas check the statue out. Finally, I want to thank Mr. Cantu for this donation. I am sure that many students will learn about Jose de Escandon when their interest is awaken by this statue. Hopefully this can lead to more young people being more proud of whom they are and their heritage