LAS VEGAS, NM – The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame inducted a New Mexico Highlands alumnus into its 2017 class.
Sylvester Perez completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Highlands in the ’70s, received a Distinguished Alumni award in 2013, and was the university’s commencement speaker in 2014.
He joins four other inductees to the Texas city’s hall of fame, including Robert Horry, who played 16 seasons in the NBA, including a stint for the San Antonio Spurs from 2003-2008
“It’s extremely humbling to join the prestigious group of San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame members, and I’m forever grateful to New Mexico Highlands University,” Perez said.
Perez played for the Cowboy baseball team from 1969 — 1971, earning All-American honors. In 1971, he batted .401 and set a school record of 13 home runs that stood for 29 years. He was inducted into the Highlands Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.
“High school football and college baseball not only equipped me with a sense of determination, those experiences later provided educational and future job opportunities,” Perez said. “Baseball also allowed me travel to different places in America and appreciate different cultures.”
As a baseball coach, Perez won district championships at three San Antonio high schools, never finishing lower than second in district play. Two high school students Perez coached went on to the major leagues and won World Series titles.
Perez’ career as an educator and administrator has spanned 40 years. He is the superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District of more than 54,000 students in 91 schools. Perez is a lifelong leader in developing programs to help eliminate educational barriers for underserved students. In 2004, he developed one of the first College Connection programs in the country to increase college entrance and access.
“I had a very rich academic experience at Highlands, where the faculty had high expectations for us and took pride in challenging us. The older I get, the more I appreciate my experiences at Highlands. I will always be indebted to the university for my life-changing education,” Perez said.