Mrs. Mary Castro Biography

Mary Borges Castro was born and raised in Laton, California, a small farming community 23 miles southeast of Fresno, to Manuel and Mary Borges. Her father milked cows for 40-plus years and her mother was a certified nursing assistant. 

When Mary was 16, her father was injured and unable to work. She and her mother took over her father's responsibilities for four months – going to the barn, milking the cows and feeding the calves.

Mary attended high school at Riverdale Christian Academy, where she was active in speech/debate, volleyball, yearbook staff and music. An alto, she placed first in state vocal competition and was selected four times to attend national vocal competition. She was active in the theater department and held the lead role in several productions.

Traveling and being outdoors are special childhood memories for Mrs. Castro. While she was growing up, her parents would take her and her sister on short camping trips to Yosemite or Morro Bay during which they would all sleep in a camper on her dad's truck. 

During her senior year in high school, she worked at a Burger King restaurant in nearby Hanford to earn money for car payments, her tuition and school uniforms and to help her parents with household expenses. It was there that she met her future husband, Joseph I. Castro of Hanford, a UC Berkeley freshman home to work during his winter break.

She graduated from Riverdale Christian Academy in 1985 and worked part-time jobs before accepting a position with the Internal Revenue Service Center in Fresno for a year. Then, at the urging of Castro, she applied to college and was accepted at Dominican College in San Rafael, studying musical theater. She financed her studies with scholarships, loans, work-study and part-time jobs. Family obligations required her to leave college after one year and she returned home.

Following her marriage to Joseph Castro, Mrs. Castro worked in various jobs, including the IRS, Fresno County Auditor’s Office and the Department of Motor Vehicles. As Dr. Castro moved to five University of California campuses and the UC Office of the President, Mrs. Castro held positions in various UC offices. They included Education Abroad and the Financial Aid office, where she was the representative in the annual campuswide United Way fundraising campaign. She was twice recognized by the United Way with the Department Representative "Super-Star" Award for raising or increasing the most donations.

Mrs. Castro has a heart for students and enjoys helping them understand the options available and how to navigate a university system so that they can concentrate on their studies. She is interested in the work of Bulldog Pantry at Fresno State and intends to learn of ways that she may become involved in campus programs that directly affect the lives of students.

In her free time, Mrs. Castro enjoys sewing, needlepoint and embroidery, which she learned as a child from her grandmother Josephine. She also loves to read, cook and listen to all genres of music. She developed a fondness for assembling large puzzles while spending a summer taking care of her step-grandmother Merle after she had eye surgery. Her grandparents and her parents included her in playing board and card games as a child. Playing games with family and friends is still one of her favorite ways to spend an evening.

The Castros have three children: Isaac, a graduate of UC Berkeley who spent a year serving in AmeriCorps, now works in an after-school program in Richmond and plans to become a teacher; Lauren, in her fourth year at Humboldt State and majoring in critical race, gender and sexuality studies; and Jess, a preschooler.


August 2013