UHV awards first Spanish certificate

University of Houston-Victoria student Bob Whatley, center, receives the university’s first Professional Spanish Certificate from Spanish instructor Salome Chavarria and Thomas Williams, chair of the School of Arts & Sciences Humanities Division.

The University of Houston-Victoria awarded its first Professional Spanish Certificate on May 27 to student Robert Whatley.

Whatley, a retired locomotive engineer living in Victoria, completed 15 hours of language and cultural classes to earn the certificate.

“It’s just a goal I set for myself,” Whatley said. “By obtaining this certificate, I have enhanced my Spanish reading, writing and speaking skills.”

In 1985, Whatley and a friend delivered a boat to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. During the course of the trip, he found himself at a disadvantage by his lack of knowledge of the language and culture.

After he retired, he decided to learn the language.

“I just fell in love with the language and the culture,” he said.

Whatley now uses his knowledge to help others travel abroad to Mexico. He has traveled four times to study at the Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Mexico. He has made several trips to the interior of Mexico and Guatemala, which included exploring both countries and visiting archeological sites, such as Mayan pyramids.

Such empowerment was the reason UHV created the program in the spring of 2008, said Thomas Williams, chair of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences Humanities Division.

“We live in an increasingly international and cosmopolitan society that makes it important for everyone to learn a second language and culture,” he said. “This is especially true for people in this region with our proximity to the international border with Mexico.”

For more information about the Professional Spanish Certificate, contact recruiter Tracey Fox at 361-570-4233 or Courses are offered online and face to face in Victoria and Sugar Land, depending on student demand.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4296