Admiral Robert Smith III, president of TAMUG receives Cesar E. Chavez Legacy & Education Foundation Conscience Builder Award.    

(Galveston, Texas – April 5, 2013) – Rear Admiral Robert Smith III, president of Texas A&M University at Galveston was recently honored by the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Education Foundation in San Antonio with the 2013 Conscience Builder Award. He is the second recipient of this award.

The mission of the foundation is to preserve the life and legacy of Cesar E. Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers Union of America. The foundation’s Conscience Builder Award is given to those who are champions and guardians of human dignity.  

Jaimie P. Martinez, founder and chairman of the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Education Foundation and one who worked as a union member and social activist with Cesar Chavez says Chavez was a great America role model who dedicated his life to helping the poor and being a champion of education.  Those who receive the Conscience Builder Award must build cultural bridges and adhere to the principles of non-violence practiced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi and Cesar Chavez.  

“These men brought together different cultures to realize the values of social and economic justice and civil rights throughout the world,” he said. “Our organizing principle is a choice of values between conscience, which recognizes obligations and compassions, against the convenience of self-interest.  

Martinez says the foundation’s Conscience Builder Award is bestowed upon those who understand the conditions of the poor and disenfranchised and are “unifiers”.   

“I’m honored to have presented this award to Admiral Smith,” Martinez said. “I know we’ll have a long-time relationship with him and Texas A&M.”  

As a former admiral and president of the Houston branch of the Federal Reserve and now president of a university, Smith says it may seem that he doesn’t have much in common with Cesar Chavez. But, he says his early years show otherwise.  

“I was raised on a farm, and I spent much of my early years working in the fields,” Smith said. “There was no hot water, and there was an outhouse in the back. The other thing I share in common with Chavez is military service. We were both in the Navy.”  

Smith says that shared upbringing built a conscience of core American values within him that are within Chavez.   

“I think what I most admire and share with Chavez is that you must have respect for others and remember that the least of us is the sum of all the rest,” Smith said. “I believe as Chavez did, that you should always consider the needs of others and serve them as best you can. I am proud to have been honored with this award in Chavez’s name.”  

Media Contact: Cathy Cashio-Bertrand, (409) 740-4830,  


Texas A&M University at Galveston is the maritime and marine-based branch campus of Texas A&M University. It is a special purpose institution offering academic programs, research and service in marine and maritime studies TAMUG is home to the Texas Maritime Academy, the only maritime academy located on the Gulf Coast. TAMUG students are known as “Sea Aggies” and like their College Station counter-parts, receive the Aggie Ring and a Texas A&M University diploma.