By Ally Bolender
News Content Manager
John Navarrette is one of five alumni receiving the Texas State University 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for all they have done for Texas State University.
“It’s a humbling experience when you look at all the ones who’ve been selected,” said Navarrette. “It’s a great honor and I’m really proud and privileged that I am able to contribute.”
Navarrette began his education at Texas State University as a non-traditional student. He
graduated from Temple Junior College and came to Texas State to finish his last two years and complete graduate school.
Navarrette is the President of CenturyTel investments of Texas and also manages the telephone companies in South Texas.
Navarrette was exposed to the business realm right out of high school. While attending junior college, Navarrette ran an outlet factory store that sold dress pants. He was able to get experience in management out of high school and was exposed to the issues and problems of employees, customer service and running a business.
He later started working for a small, family-owned phone company in San Marcos selling directories. This is where he climbed up the management ladder and ended up as the successful business-man he is today.
“The main thing is showing up, always being on time, if not earlier, and being interested in not just what you’re assigned to, but taking on other assignments,” said Navarrette. “That’s how you grow and get through the management ladder and (show) that you’re willing to take on more responsibilities.”
The day Navarrette graduated, the owner offered him the director of operations position. He credits his success to his education at Texas State University.
Navarrette studied a concentration in business management at McCoy college. He says that the courses taught him how to be a team player.
“Every one of those classes forced me to come out of my shell,” said Navarrette. “I took every business class they had, from finance to industrial relations to HR…”
Navarrette wanted to be well-rounded and understand the operations of every part of a business. He wanted to be able to be in the shoes of all the departments and understand how to help problem-solve from all perspectives.
During school, Navarrette recalls always sitting in the front of the class. He wanted to show his professors he had the initiative and desire to learn. He attributes this to the 3.95 GPA he graduated with.
During graduate school, Navarrette spoke to undergraduate and graduate classes about what to prepare for and what to expect in the work environment.
“There’s so many different ways to solve problems,” said Navarrette. “You have to be flexible.”
From day one, Navarrette had a strong drive to be successful because of his initiative and determination.
“I always said ‘I’m going to do my best. I’m going to pull myself up and make a better life. I’m going to treat people how I want to be treated and do my best,’” said Navarrette.
Navarrette and his wife established endowed scholarships for students enrolled in the College of Fine Arts and Communication and the McCoy College of Business Administration. All recipients are known as Navarrette Scholars.
In addition to donating scholarships to Texas State University students, the Navarrette’s have always been involved in donating to Texas State athletics.
Navarette was President of the Bobcat club three different times before the organization turned into scholarship donations. He and his wife were involved in every sport.
As president, he was able to assign members a sport and those members were able to go directly to the coach and find out what their needs were, whether it be additional equipment or field improvements.
He says the best thing about this was being able to work closely with the coaches and athletes to know what their needs were.
Navarrette provided encouraging words for Texas State students. He stressed that while it is important to get a job and move into the workforce, the time you have at Texas State University will be the best years and to enjoy it while it lasts.
“The best things you can take away from your college education is learning to live with each other,” said Navarrette. “Enjoy that time because, trust me, you’ll have the rest of your life to raise a family and go to work. Those four or five years that you spend in college—make the most of them because they’ll be over before you know it.”
Featured image by Piper Blake via Canva.