UTEP Announces 2017 Distinguished Alumni

Last Updated on July 14, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Originally published July 14, 2017

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

Every year, The University of Texas at El Paso and the UTEP Alumni Association honor a group of men and women whose achievements stand out as monuments to dedication, integrity and hard work – they are the UTEP Distinguished Alumni.

UTEP has named three Distinguished Alumni for 2017: Maria Castañón Moats, U.S. and Mexico Assurance Leader for auditing firm PwC; Jacob Cintron, CEO and president of University Medical Center of El Paso; and Allen Gilmer, co-founder and executive chairman of Drillinginfo.

“We are extremely proud to celebrate this year’s Distinguished Alumni, who represent the very best of UTEP excellence – our highly talented students and the educational programs that enable them to achieve their full potential,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio. “These three highly accomplished UTEP graduates clearly set high aspirations for themselves and, upon completing their UTEP degrees, have achieved extraordinary success in their chosen professions. Their stories serve as a powerful inspiration for all of us at UTEP today – students, faculty and staff – to continue building a culture of excellence across the campus.”

The Distinguished Alumni award is the highest recognition bestowed upon alumni of the University. The 2017 awardees will be officially recognized during UTEP’s 2017 Homecoming Week, Oct. 1-7. 

“The 2017 Distinguished Alumni are stars in their respective industries and are wonderful role models to our current students,” said Maribel Villalva, UTEP assistant vice president for alumni relations. “These individuals are being celebrated, not only because they are stellar graduates of UTEP, but also because they are prime examples of UTEP’s mission of excellence. They each rose through the ranks of their industry and are now respected leaders and innovators. But, above all else, they remain committed to their alma mater and to helping UTEP students find their own path to success. We are so proud of these three individuals who earned the title Distinguished Alumni.” 

The Distinguished Alumni join another group of alumni who are being honored by their respective colleges – the 2017 Gold Nugget Award recipients – who were announced earlier this summer. They will all be honored during UTEP’s Homecoming Week and will be showcased at the annual Distinguished Alumni Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 at the Don Haskins Center.

Learn more about the 2017 Distinguished Alumni:


Maria Castañón Moats

U.S. and Mexico Assurance Leader, PwC

Maria Castañón Moats was born in Juárez, Mexico and grew up in El Paso. She graduated from UTEP in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She made partner at PwC in 2004 and was later appointed as the firm’s U.S. Diversity Leader from 2011-16, where she reported to the company’s U.S. CEO and served on the U.S. leadership team. Currently, Castañón Moats serves as the first woman and first Hispanic to hold her position at PwC and recently claimed the No. 2 spot on Fortune magazine’s inaugural list of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas.

“I’m incredibly humbled by being named as a Distinguished Alumna,” Castañón Moats said. “UTEP means so much to me – it’s where I learned the value of hard work and was exposed to a variety of people, cultures and information, all of which contributed to both the person I’ve become and the fulfilling career I have today.”


Jacob Cintron

CEO and President of University Medical Center of El Paso

Jacob Cintron started out doing odd jobs in the Engineering Department of Thomason Hospital, now University Medical Center (UMC), when he was 17 years old. Cintron earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from UTEP in 1983 and returned to the University to earn an MBA and a Master of Accountancy. He became director of engineering at Thomason and, later, assistant administrator of the hospital. He stayed at Thomason for 17 years before moving on to executive positions at major health care systems in Chicago, Illinois; San Antonio, Texas; and San Diego, California. Cintron returned to El Paso in 2006 to become CEO of Del Sol Medical Center, a position he held for 10 years before being named CEO of UMC.

“I am blown away, proud and humbled by being named as one of UTEP’s Distinguished Alumni,” Cintron said. “If it weren’t for UTEP, I would have settled for something else, and my life path would have been very different. Thanks to UTEP, I am in a place where I’d never thought I’d be.”


Allen Gilmer

Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Drillinginfo

Allen Gilmer attended Rice University intending to become a lawyer. While at Rice, he enjoyed his geology classes and ended up earning a bachelor’s degree in geology in 1984. Gilmer returned to El Paso and attended UTEP, where he earned his master’s degree in geological sciences in 1987. He worked several years as a geophysicist at Marathon Oil Co. and went on to co-found several companies in the oil and gas sector before starting up Drillinginfo, a leading provider of cloud-based data and analytics software for the oil and gas industry. Professionally, Gilmer has received numerous accolades. He was selected as Large Company CEO of the Year for Central Texas in 2014, Top 7 North American Prospect Expo Influencers in 2014, Texas' Outstanding Geoscientist in 2012 by Texas Monthly magazine and Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Central Texas in 2012.

“Throughout the history of TWC and UTEP, there have been some true giants who have earned their degrees at this outstanding university,” Gilmer said. “I am amazingly humbled by being recognized as one of UTEP’s Distinguished Alumni.”