The University of Houston-Victoria named award-winning journalist Macarena Hernández as the first Victoria Advocate Endowed Professor of the Humanities on Monday.
The innovative partnership to establish the endowment by the McHaney and Roberts families, who own the 163-year-old Victoria Advocate newspaper, previously was announced in November at the UHV President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards event. The gift from the Advocate became final on Friday when Gov. Rick Perry signed the legislation to let UHV add underclassmen in the fall of 2010.
This allowed university administrators to name Hernández to the position. She joined the UHV communications faculty in January.
“I am honored to be named the Victoria Advocate Endowed Professor of the Humanities,” said 34-year-old Hernández, who has written for The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News and the San Antonio Express-News. “This appointment opens up incredible opportunities for my UHV students and also gives me – the journalist – the opportunity to work together with reporters and editors at the Advocate.”
Prior to coming to UHV, Hernández was an International Reporting Project Fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. While there in the fall, she produced a documentary about Mexican immigration laws that will air on PBS/Frontline World later this year.
“We are glad to support UHV during this exciting time as it moves toward becoming a four-year university,” said John Roberts, Victoria Advocate publisher and chairman. “We are looking forward to working with Ms. Hernández at the Advocate and providing the community with new multimedia projects with her assistance.”
A child of immigrants, Hernández was born in Roma and raised in La Joya, where her family still lives. She received a bachelor’s degree in 1996 with a double major in English professional writing and journalism. She earned her master’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in documentary filmmaking in 1998 from the University of California at Berkeley.
Latina magazine named Hernández one of its Women of the Year in 2003, and the following year, Hispanic magazine named her a Hispanic Trendsetter. The Los Angeles Times selected her as a Media Face to Watch in 2006.
Hernández is a member of the Hecho En Tejas troupe, a group of writers and musicians who perform at public venues and tour schools to talk about education and writing. She also is a member of Macondo, a writers’ collective founded by author Sandra Cisneros.
“It is fitting for the first Victoria Advocate Endowed Professor of the Humanities to be a talented journalist,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “Ms. Hernández brings so much energy and knowledge about the journalism industry to the students in her UHV communications courses, and I am pleased that she will be representing UHV at the Advocate and in the community.”