Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed Monica Zárate Burdette, Lilia Garcia, David Gravelle, John L. Nau, III, and Tom Perini of the Texas Historical Commission for terms set to expire on February 1, 2027. The commission provides leadership and coordinates services to support projects commissioned by county historical commissions, historical societies, agencies and institutions interested in the preservation of archeological and historical heritage. The commission also acts as a clearinghouse and historical information center.
Monica Zárate Burdette of Rockport is the former owner and chef at The Inn at El Canelo Ranch in Kenedy County. El Canelo Ranch, originally established in 1864, has served as a center for cultural heritage and land stewardship under the care of Burdette and other family members. She is a former board member of the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg, where she chaired the committee that produced “Mesquite Country,” a cookbook which won a national award. She also chaired the committee that founded the “Wild in Willacy” Nature Festival of the Raymondville Chamber of Commerce. Burdette has retired to Rockport and continues to engage in various historical preservation efforts around Aransas and Kenedy Counties.
Lilia Garcia of Raymondville is a lecturer of history at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). She is also involved in the Early College Program through UTRGV bringing college level courses to high school students for full college credit. She was formerly on faculty at Saint Joseph’s Academy in Brownsville, teaching art history, Texas history and AP US history. She is an Advisory Board Member of the Museum of South Texas, member of the Brownsville Historical Association, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Garcia received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Ibero-American studies and a Master of Arts in history from Southern Methodist University. Garcia attended Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, England, where she did post graduate work in art and art history and later worked for Christie’s in New York City. She has been published in various history journals, as well as been a speaker throughout Texas focusing on the dynamics of South Texas and various South Texas individuals. In addition, Garcia is a fifth generation Texas rancher.
John L. Nau, III is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Eagle Beverages, one of the nation’s largest distributors of Anheuser-Busch products. His commitment to service is apparent through a broad spectrum of participation in civic, community, and philanthropic organizations in Texas and throughout the country. His current involvement includes chairman of the Texas Historical Commission, National Park Foundation Board of Directors, American Battlefield Trust Board of Directors, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation Board of Directors, Baylor College of Medicine Board of Trustees, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Board of Trustees, University of Houston Board of Visitors, Honorary Trustee of Texas Heart Institute, Honorary State Trustee for the San Antonio Parks Foundation, and Advisory Council member to the Center for Big Bend Studies. He also serves as a Board Member for Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park, Houston Police Foundation, San Antonio Zoo, and The Admiral Nimitz Foundation. Additionally, he is the founder and president of The Nau Foundation. Nau received a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Virginia, where he previously served on the Board of Visitors, a position appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. He will continue to serve as the chair of the Texas Historical Commission.
Tom Perini of Buffalo Gap is the owner/operator of Perini Ranch Steakhouse. He is a member and past president of the Texas Restaurant Association, a member of International Association of Culinary Professionals and the James Beard Foundation. He is a former board member of the American Red Cross, St. John’s Episcopal School in Abilene, and the Ben Richey Boys Ranch of Abilene. Perini grew up proudly surrounded by historians. Locally, Perini serves on the board of the Buffalo Gap Historic Village, the Fort Chadbourne Foundation in Bronte, Texas, and various committees of the Buffalo Gap City Council, including Planning and Zoning. He graduated from Peacock Military Academy in San Antonio and attended the University of North Texas.
David Gravelle of Dallas is a branding/marketing consultant. He is a member of the Dallas Friday Group and Town and Grown. He is a former member of the Texas State Historical Association, Dallas Assembly, and the Dallas Museum of Natural History. Gravelle received a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Southern Methodist University.