UHV to host spring commencement ceremonies

University of Houston-Victoria spring 2022 graduates will have the opportunity to celebrate graduation and listen to words of encouragement from the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness this month during the university’s commencement ceremonies in Victoria.

Bob Glenn

UHV will hold two commencement ceremonies on May 14 at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the colleges of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and Natural & Applied Science. The 3 p.m. ceremony will be for graduates of the colleges of Business and Education & Health Professions. A live-streaming broadcast of the ceremonies will be available at

“Commencement is a milestone we are proud to celebrate with our students, who have all worked tirelessly to achieve this goal,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “This is a joyous occasion for all, and I look forward to congratulating each of our students when they cross the stage.”

The commencement address for both ceremonies will be delivered by Gilbert Cisneros, the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Cisneros was sworn into his position on Aug. 24, 2021, and serves as the principal staff assistant and advisor to the Secretary of Defense for force readiness; force management; health affairs; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; education and training; and military and civilian personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation and quality of life matters. Cisneros, a native of Southern California, is a former military officer, philanthropist, veterans advocate and member of Congress with national security experience.

Gilbert Cisneros

He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1989 after graduating from high school and was selected for the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training Program. In 1994, he was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy and served for 10 years before working for Frito-Lay. In 2010, with his wife Jacki, he started the Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, focused on helping students find a path to higher education with scholarships and college access programs. Along with supporting education initiatives, such as Better Make Room, they have also supported organizations such as It’s On Us to end sexual harassment and assault on college campuses, and the USO, which supports active-duty troops. He also founded The Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute at his alma mater The George Washington University, which not only provides scholarships for Latino students, but is also becoming a leading institute for policy issues that affect the Latino community. Prior to serving in Congress, Gilbert was a member of the President’s Advisory Council for the Arts and a member of the DNC Finance Committee.

A strong advocate for our service members and our veterans, Cisneros served on both the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees when he represented California’s 39th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He championed language in the National Defense Authorization Act to foster greater diversity in our military officer corps. He fought to address the issue of mental health and suicide amongst both our veterans and service members. After the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillén, he was invited to participate in discussions about the status of Latinos in the Army and helped to introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act to make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He has been an advocate for military families on issues of housing, child abuse and exceptional family members. He has been outspoken about the military taking a bigger role in protecting our planet, and secured language in the NDAA to have the military begin to convert all non-tactical vehicles to non-emission vehicles. As a former naval officer, he secured language in the NDAA that will evaluate and strengthen the Navy’s process to not only make better warriors, but better ship drivers. He is also the co-founder of the Military Transition Assistance Pathway Caucus to support and advocate on behalf of military service members returning to civilian life.

He attended college on a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship and received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from George Washington University. While in the Navy, Cisneros received a Master of Business Administration from Regis University. At the age of 43, after starting his education foundation, he went back to school using his G.I. Bill and received a master’s degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University.

Gilbert has received numerous awards for his military service, philanthropic work and as a member of Congress. Most recently he has received an award from the U.S. Navy Memorial for his years of service to our country, and he was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with their Abraham Lincoln Award for his bipartisan work in the House of Representatives on behalf of small businesses.

Chance Glenn

“We are truly honored to have Secretary Cisneros participate in our commencement ceremony this year,” said Chance Glenn Sr., UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs. “It is indeed a powerful statement that even during these tumultuous global times, the Secretary values the importance of higher education and the power it can have to transform lives. I would like to thank him and his staff for working with us to make this happen. I believe that they recognize the significance that UHV has to this community and the Victoria area and therefore support our mission in word and in deed.”

In addition to the address, ceremonies will include remarks by UHV President Bob Glenn and Tiarah Figueroa, UHV Student Government Association president. The deans and interim deans of the four UHV colleges will present the candidates for graduation. UHV alumna and Victoria County District Attorney Constance Filley Johnson will introduce graduates into the UHV Alumni Association during both ceremonies as well.

Jesse Garcia, of Victoria, will give remarks at the 10 a.m. ceremony. He was named the Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. Three UHV faculty members who recently were rewarded for their work in teaching, research and service also will be honored during the two ceremonies. Those faculty members are:

  • Teaching Excellence Award – Anthony Madrid, assistant professor of creative writing and English and director of the creative writing program
  • Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award – Armando Chávez-Rivera, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Spanish program
  • Distinguished Faculty Service Award – Sandy Venneman, professor of psychology and biology

Graduates are asked to arrive one hour prior to their commencement ceremony. Air horns, noisemakers and laser pointers will not be allowed at the ceremony. Balloons, signs larger than 2 feet by 2 feet, banners and flowers are prohibited in the arena but can be checked in to the guest services table. Seating is first-come, first-served.

For more information about commencement, go to or contact or 361-570-4848.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, 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, Texas, 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.

Amber Aldaco