UHV student becomes next student regent on UH System Board of Regents
For the first time in nearly a decade, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has named a University of Houston-Victoria student as the student regent on the UH System Board of Regents.
Alvaro De la Cruz Jr. of Converse will serve on the UH System Board of Regents until May 31. The graduate student is the second UHV student to serve as student regent since the university was founded more than 45 years ago. The previous student regent from UHV was Kristen Lindley Sayegh, who was appointed in 2009 by Gov. Rick Perry and served through May 31, 2010.
“This appointment is an incredible honor, and I am so excited to be able to represent my university and all of the UH System’s students,” De la Cruz said. “It’s a huge responsibility, and I’m looking forward to being part of this critical group.”
The student regent works with the nine members of the UH System Board of Regents to make governing decisions for the system and each university. Although the student regent does not have a vote on the board, he does represent the voice of the system’s 74,0000 students during the board’s quarterly meetings.
De la Cruz has been a student leader at UHV for years. He is a residence hall coordinator for UHV Residence Life, advisor of the Residence Hall Association and is pursuing a Master of Education in Adult & Higher Education. In 2019, he graduated from UHV with a Bachelor of Science in biology.
As an undergraduate, he served as president of the UHV Student Government Association, president of the Pre-Health Student Association, and vice president of the Residence Hall Association. He also has served in several other capacities on campus, including chair of the UHV Alma Mater and Homecoming committees. He served on the Presidential Search Committee that recommended the hiring of UHV President Bob Glenn. He has received multiple awards, including the 2018 UHV Student Leadership Award, a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, and the 2017 UHV Spirit of the Jaguar Award.
“Alvaro is a young man who has become a major part of the student leadership group at UHV,” Glenn said. “His commitment to excellence and his love for the university have made a lasting impact on UHV. I am excited to see how he will bring that same level of excellence to serve as the student representative for the Board of Regents.”
Typically, the student regent begins his term by touring each campus in the UH System to better understand the climate, strengths and challenges of each institution. The tour usually includes meeting with leaders on each campus, including administrators, members of faculty and staff governing bodies, and student government representatives. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing De la Cruz to consider alternative ways to meet with officials.
“It’s important for me to know about each institution so I can offer an accurate student perspective,” he said. “We’re looking into scheduling virtual sessions, so I can still meet the leaders of each university while also practicing social distancing.”
This was the second time De la Cruz had applied to be considered for the position of student regent. His first application was in 2016, and he made it through the first round of interviews. Afterward, he decided to wait until he had more experience as a leader before applying again.
Now, as he starts his yearlong term as regent, De la Cruz is grateful for the support he has received from his friends and staff at UHV, including Camilla Sutton, assistant director of Residence Life, and Michael Wilkinson, senior director of Student Services and Judicial Affairs and the advisor for the UHV Student Government Association.
“I have a wonderful support system of friends and advisors who have believed in and encouraged me,” he said. “They are always giving me positive feedback. They don’t let me forget that in everything I do, I always give my best. Now I plan to bring that commitment to my role as student regent so I can do a good job for everyone in the UH System.”
The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.