Joel D. Valdez currently serves as a special adviser to President Robert N. Shelton of the UA Foundation, offering guidance on the University’s growth and development and the UA’s role in the city’s Modern Streetcar Project, the future expansion of the Marriot University Park Hotel, the potential redevelopment of the northwest corner of Speedway and Campbell and much more. Prior his position with the Foundation, Valdez spent 20 years at the University of Arizona as senior vice president for business affairs where he served under four university presidents in his two decades on the job and implemented more than $1 billion worth of construction projects that have changed the face of the campus. Valdez’s work with the University followed a long successful career in Tucson city politics. From 1974 until 1990, he was appointed Tucson City Manager, during which time he oversaw 4,000 employees and administered hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvements in many areas, including housing, water and sewer, public safety, libraries and various private ventures. Throughout his life, Valdez’ sphere of influence as extended far and wide in Tucson. Constantly active in his community, Valdez dedicated much of his free time to help others, where he has served on the boards of the Mariachi Conference (for which he is also a co-founder), Hellenic Cultural Foundation, United Way and the Diocese of Tucson, where he has been named a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. He received a BS in education from UA in 1957, a Certificate from the Sloan School of Management, M.I.T in 1972 and a diploma fro Harvard University’s Senior Managers in Government school in 1978. Valdez, a Tucson native, and his wife Mary Lee have two children and five grandchildren.
The Tucson Rodeo Parade is honored to present,
James “Big Jim” Griffith as its 2010 Grand Marshal.
Teacher, founder, anthropologist, author, story teller, award-winning musician, and folklorist all describe the 2010 Tucson Rodeo Parade Grand Marshal, James “Big Jim” Griffith.
For over four decades Big Jim has studied folkways and religious expression throughout the United States-Mexico border region. Griffith’s work as an academic and public folklorist has been extraordinary and his legacy includes founding the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona and the annual Tucson Meet Yourself Folk Arts Festival.
Jim Griffith was born in Santa Barbara, California, and came to Tucson in 1955 to attend the University of Arizona. He has considered himself a permanent Tucson resident since 1963. He loves Southern Arizona and has said, “I guess I’ll stay in Tucson as long as it gets worse slower than other places.”
He received all three of his degrees from the University of Arizona, the Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and art history in 1973. From 1979 until his retirement in 1998 he ran the University’s Southwest Folklore Center. He is currently a Research Associate at the Center.
With his wife, Loma, he started Tucson Meet Yourself in 1974. The celebration of Tucson’s ethnic and cultural diversity now draws over 100,000 participants annually.
Although he retired as director of the festival in 1995, he is once again heavily involved in this project. Starting in 1985, he wrote and hosted “Southern Arizona Traditions,” a weekly 3-minute spot on KUAT-TV’s Arizona Illustrated program. For 2 ½ years in the late 1980s he wrote a monthly column on “Local Custom” for the now-defunct City Magazine. He was curator for eleven exhibitions of regional traditional arts, the most recent being “La Cadena Que No Se Corta/The Unbroken Chain: The Traditional Arts of Tucson’s Mexican American Community,” at the University of Arizona Museum of Art in the winter of 1996-7.
Griffith has written seven books on Southern Arizona and Northern Mexico folk arts, traditions and religious art. He has been honored by several literary societies and includes such awards as the 2005 Henry Glassie Award and the 2009 Pima County Library Lifetime Achievement Award. He is currently researching for a book on the religious art of Sonora, and finishing a guide to regional folklore.
Big Jim is also an accomplished and award-winning banjo player. He recorded Dixie Cowboy, a CD collection of bluegrass and folk tunes, and also collected the songs and wrote the liner notes for the CD Heroes and Horses: Corridos of the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands,
Jim Griffith’s professional commitment has always been to try to understand the cultures of this part of the border, and to pass along that understanding, as respectfully and accurately as possible, to the general public. His commitment to the history and culture of the Southwest make Big Jim a natural selection as Grand Marshal.
During his tenure there have been numerous fundamental changes in the way the Tucson region operates.
Under Mayor Walkup’s leadership, Tucson has begun utilizing its share of Colorado River water in 2001 to supplement its potable water supply and reduce its dependence on groundwater.
Mayor Walkup was instrumental in forming our Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and gaining voter-approval for its $2.1 billion multi-modal transportation plan.
He helped form the Meth-Free Alliance, the Men’s Anti-Violence Partnership, and he led the City Council effort to increase public safety support over a ten-year period with 560 more police officers and 336 more firefighters and paramedics.
Working together with Pima County, Mayor Walkup has engineered consolidations of economic development agencies into one regional entity, the Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, Inc. (TREO), and consolidation of our regional library system funding. His efforts in economic development have contributed to a net increase of 50,000 jobs and $10,000 per year in average worker earnings during his tenure.
Mayor Walkup was the first Arizona Mayor to sign the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement. His local environmental efforts that have resulted in doubling Tucson’s recycling rate, instituting impact fees to make new growth pay its fair share and requiring LEED certification on all new city buildings.
Believing that mayors can play a key role in reducing health care costs, Mayor Walkup initiated the Healthy Tucson Initiative locally and the Global Alliance for Community Wellness internationally. The Global Alliance commits mayors and city governments to partner with local health care leaders to demonstrate healthy lifestyles and support prevention programs in order to improve the city’s quality of life.
Mayor Walkup has a degree in Industrial Engineering from Iowa State University. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked for over 37 years in the aerospace industry as an Industrial Engineer and Executive for Rockwell International, Fairchild Republic and Hughes Aircraft. He is Vice President of the Arizona League of Cities and Towns and is a member of the League’s Executive Committee. He also serves as Chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee for the US Conference of Mayors’ Transportation Committee.
Mayor Walkup and his wife, Beth Walkup, have five children and six grandchildren. He enjoys astronomy, classical history and is an avid cyclist.
2004 Mrs. Cele Peterson
Cele Peterson is with absolute certainty, one of the most outstanding members of Tucson. She has been a member of the business community for over 70 years and has received several awards for her success. Her undying devotion to countless civic organizations and philanthropic affairs is an inspiration to us all.
Peterson said she could remember climbing a hill in Bisbee as a child and gazing down to see the Mexican Revolution in progress. She called herself a lifelong Republican,