Judge’s journey toward career in public service began at Victoria College

Gonzalez Judge Beatriz Gonzalez

Judge Beatriz Gonzalez has devoted her life to serving the Crossroads region, and she isn’t about to quit now.

Gonzalez, 70, has been a practicing attorney for 40 years, including 21 in the Justice of the Peace Office. She also teaches reading skills to kindergarten and elementary school students in her spare time.

“I love Victoria,” Gonzalez said. “I am always looking for ways to give back to the community. My first career was actually in teaching, so it is wonderful that I’m able to do a little bit of that now.”

Gonzalez’s journey toward a career in public service began at Victoria College.

“I was in fifth grade when my sister graduated from high school,” Gonzalez said. “She then went to Victoria College, and that’s when I became familiar with VC. I thought to myself, ‘I think I can do that, too.’ ”

Gonzalez accumulated over 50 hours of credits before transferring to the University of Houston’s Main Campus, where she obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

“I always believe God puts you where you’re supposed to be, and I had a very close friend who was already going to Victoria College,” said Gonzalez, who attended VC in 1966-67. “She said I should go to Victoria College and we could both then go to the University of Houston. That’s what we did. Victoria College wound up being the perfect place for me to start. Thanks to Victoria College, I was able to get my bachelor’s degree in just three years. Obviously, that saved me a lot of money.”

Gonzalez obtained her law degree from UH and returned to Victoria after receiving a phone call from a friend.

“Lydia Serrata, who is also a graduate of Victoria College, was practicing law here in Victoria. She called me and said she needed some help,” Gonzalez said. “She was with the DA’s office at the time, and she wanted to start her own practice.”

Gonzales worked with Serrata’s law firm for three years before she accepted a job in Victoria’s Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3 Office. She was elected Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 in 1985 and served in that capacity until 2006.

“The Justice of the Peace Office is the lowest form of court, so that’s why it has the highest amount of traffic,” Gonzalez said. “You see a lot of people. You are just serving the public in that court. That’s where people really go when they need help.”

Gonzalez, who also served as an assistant district attorney for eight years before becoming semi-retired, said she learned many of her communication skills required to be Justice of the Peace from her time as a VC student.

Gonzalez now serves on the VC Foundation, which provides financial support for scholarships, faculty and staff development, technology, capital needs, and other VC initiatives.

“The role of Victoria College is huge and has grown by leaps and bounds, especially the last few years,” Gonzalez said. “Victoria College doesn’t just educate students to go to school somewhere else. VC is also educating them to come out in six weeks or six months ready to work, ready to take on a good job and ready to be contributors to our community.”