Woman who graduated from Texas Tech at 67 remembered by family, alma mater

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — San Juanita Valenciano, a woman who graduated from Texas Tech in 2019 at 67-years-old, died September 7, according to a tweet from her daughter, Samantha Montaño.

Her daughter said Valenciano was the biggest cheerleader for anyone. She also said she was supportive, driven and a motivator.

Montaño said people could honor her mother by supporting Texas Tech.

“Go to Tech games and cheer loud,” Montaño said. “That’s what she would have wanted.”

Texas Tech released a statement regarding Valenciano’s death Wednesday.

We at Texas Tech University were saddened to hear of the passing of Mrs. Valenciano. Her determination to finish her education is a shining example of the Red Raider spirit we hold so dear, and we are glad she achieved her goal of graduating. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends, but appreciate the many years Mrs. Valenciano spent as a member of the Texas Tech family.

Montaño said President Lawrence Schovanec also emailed her father, Jose Valenciano, and said San Juanita’s graduation was an important day for Texas Tech.

“It’s like my dad started the Tech journey, and my mother ended it,” Montaño said.

Montaño said her parents had been together for 50 years.

Valenciano was an avid supporter of Raiders Rojos, a scholarship that believes in higher education, for the past 20 years. Montaño encouraged people to donate to the program.

Montaño said Valenciano always encouraged others to never give up.

“She started her higher education journey in 1971 and finished in 2019,” Montaño said. “Tech’s motto is ‘Strive for Honor,’ and she was always striving and pushing for others to do their best.”

Montaño said her mother was vaccinated but died after complications related to COVID-19.

Valenciano’s funeral will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, September 18, at Our Lady of Grace Church in Lubbock.

RELATED STORY: 67-year-old grandmother to graduate from Texas Tech

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