Treviño, Vidal Manuel (1929–2006)

By: Alyssa Canales

Type: Biography

Published: August 23, 2016

Vidal Manuel Treviño, educator, school superintendent, and state legislator, was born on June 10, 1929, in Sabinas Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Mexico, to Rufino Treviño and Marie de Jesus Villarreal. He grew up in Laredo, Texas, where he graduated from Martin High School in 1947. From 1952 to 1952 he served in the United States Army in the Korean War and received the Bronze Star. Treviño went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&I University in Kingsville (now Texas A&M University–Kingsville) in education. In 1953 Treviño married Lucila “Chila” Treviño, whom he met while studying at the university. They moved to Laredo and had five children: David Vidal, Nelda, Christina, Daniel W., and Roberto W.

For forty-six years, Treviño served in education as a teacher, principal, director of federal projects, assistant superintendent, and district superintendent. After he received his degrees, he taught at Central Elementary School in Laredo. He later became principal at L. J. Christen Middle School. After serving as assistant superintendent, he served as superintendent for Laredo Independent School District from 1973 to 1995. During his tenure as superintendent, Treviño helped establish an early childhood center for the district and spearheaded the effort to develop the first fine arts and communications magnet school in South Texas. The Texas Association of School Boards honored him as one of the top five superintendents in Texas. Treviño retired in 1995 but remained active as executive director of the D. D. Hachar Charitable Trust, a trust that provided scholarships to Laredo area students and funded a scholarship honors program at Texas A&M International University. The first magnet school in Laredo, the Vidal M. Treviño School of Communications and Fine Arts, was named in his honor.

Treviño, a Democrat, represented District 80, serving Webb and Zapata counties, in the Texas House of Representatives from 1961 to 1963 in the Fifty-seventh Texas Legislature. During his term, he served on several committees, including the Education Committee, Rules Committee, and Public Health Committee. He was an influential member of the Independent Club, a dominant political faction within the Democratic Party in Webb County.

During his lifetime, Treviño received many honors. President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to the National Advisory Committee for the Handicapped. He was a recipient of the American Educator’s Medal by the Freedoms Foundation, the Washington’s Birthday Celebration’s President’s Meritorious Award, the Mr. South Texas Award, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council No. 12’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Boy Scouts’ Aztec Distinguished Citizen Award. He also received an honorary doctorate from Texas A&M International in 2002.

Vidal Manuel Treviño, a Catholic, died from the effects of diabetes and heart failure at his home in Laredo on December 30, 2006. A funeral Mass was held at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, and he was buried in Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Laredo.

Laredo Morning Times, January 1, 2007. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Vidal M. Trevino ( ), accessed August 21, 2016. “Treviño to Receive Honorary Doctorate at TAMIU Spring Commencement May 11,” Texas A&M International University News and Information, May 2, 2002 (, accessed August 21, 2016. 

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Alyssa Canales, “Treviño, Vidal Manuel,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

August 23, 2016

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: