One name, three generations: How six relatives from one Mexican family found their UNT legacy.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 15:42
Three members of the Usabiaga family -- a grandfather, a father and a son -- stand holding a pennant from North Texas State University (UNT's one time name). From left to right: Ernesto G. Usabiaga, a 1959 UNT alumnus; Jorge Ernesto Usabiaga, a 1986 UNT alumnus; and Ernesto B. Usabiaga, a current UNT student.
Three members of the Usabiaga family -- a grandfather, a father and a son -- stand holding a pennant from North Texas State University (UNT's one time name). From left to right: Ernesto G. Usabiaga, a 1959 UNT alumnus; Jorge Ernesto Usabiaga, a 1986 UNT alumnus; and Ernesto B. Usabiaga, a current UNT student.

DENTON (UNT), Texas — It might appear that Ernesto Usabiaga is giving college a third try. Records at the University of North Texas show that his namesake attended in the 1950s, and that a similarly named Jorge Ernesto Usabiaga came in the 1980s. In truth? The 20-year-old junior is part of a family legacy of Usabiagas – all successful businessmen thriving in Mexico – who have been enrolling at UNT for decades.

Starting with the grandfather, Ernesto G. Usabiaga, who graduated in 1959, a total of five family members have completed their studies at UNT, with each alumnus working diligently to persuade the next college-age relative to follow in their footsteps. The current UNT student, Ernesto B. Usabiaga, brings the count to six.

“My dad was always dropping hints about Denton and the university and his experience here, but I always wanted to go to a bigger city since I was born in such a small town,” said the logistics and supply chain management student, adding that he was “secretly hoping” to go to elsewhere.

Things changed after a campus visit.

“Everything was in place. Denton is small, but it’s not hard to get anywhere. You have Dallas 40 minutes away, and the school and the international program is really good. And UNT has one of the best logistics programs in the nation,” he continued. 

Business degrees have been important for the family, whose members collectively run SuSazón, a thriving food distribution company. SuSazón is located near the Usabiagas’ hometown of Celaya, a city in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Jorge Ernesto and his brother Mauricio, also a UNT graduate, started the business in 1992.

“My experience at UNT gave me the basis to run a business,” said Jorge Ernesto. “We constantly do business transactions with American and Canadian companies, and UNT helped with understanding the American way of doing business and with speaking English.”

Other relatives, including Grandfather Ernesto G., who runs the retail shops, joined the family business – an operation that Ernesto B., the current UNT student, anticipates he’ll someday join after he graduates in 2019. For those career plans, his logistics degree will come in handy.

“I want to stay here in the U.S. for a while and open a distribution network,” he said. “Right now we don’t export much out of Mexico, so that would be the next step.”

But first comes graduation – and also the hopes that two younger brothers, Alejandro and Emilio, are next on the list.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108