The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

U.S. Treasurer Cabral speaks to students

U.S. Treasurer Anna Escobedo Cabral encouraged SMU students to make a “lifetime commitment” to education during a question and answer session on May 22.

“I come from a family where no one had completed high school, let alone college,” Cabral said. “I decided I would graduate from high school early to get a job to help support my family. But my high school math teacher, Mr. Lamm, taught me there was a much bigger world out there and encouraged me to apply to college.”

Cabral says that the world today expects change. To remain competitive, Cabral says “you will need to acquire new skills.”

“That may involve another degree, it may involve taking a couple of classes at a community center, or making a list of books that you need to read over the next year so that you have the knowledge it takes to succeed,” she said. “I will let you in on a secret – I am going to law school at night right now. I am two classes away from graduation. I am trying to live what I say.”

Cabral has been U.S. Treasurer since 2004, and serves as the head of the Department of the Treasury, which includes the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the United States Mint, the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of the Public Debt.

Cabral will be leaving office when President George W. Bush leaves office. She says her next job will “be about finding a way to make communities better.”

“It may not be in the government, you can do a good job of serving in the private sector as well,” she said.

She credits the gift of education for her work in government service.

“I was grateful for the opportunity to attend college, but shortly after arriving on campus I became very angry because I noticed that there were very few people there who looked like me,” she said.

“There were still too many people in the neighborhoods I left behind who didn’t have a teacher like Mr. Lamm to encourage them. This gift of education that I received has to be used to open additional doors. Once I learned about the importance of higher education, I made sure that everywhere I went, people would hear the pitch on why they should go on to college.”

Cabral says she never imagined that she would be treasurer of the United States, and although she spent a lifetime building a career in public service, the most difficult task she has faced in her life was writing her signature.

“I had to sign my name on a piece of paper to create the metal plate that would print my signature on paper currency,” she said. “I could not get my pen to the paper because my hand was shaking so much. Then I thought of my grandparents and parents and their sacrifices. I realized that when I made that signature, I was really honoring them. Then my pen went straight to the paper, and I signed my name.”

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