Foundation selects UHV chief of staff for Leadership Texas

The chief of staff at the University of Houston-Victoria is one of 101 outstanding female leaders selected for the Leadership Texas Class of 2009, the longest-running U.S. women’s leadership development program.

Margaret Rice

Margaret Hunt Rice and the rest of her class chosen from across the state will have the chance to go to five Texas cities during the yearlong program. They will talk with renowned experts, government officials and other leaders.

“I’m thrilled to be able to go through a program that will help me become a more effective leader at UHV and in the community,” said Rice, who was appointed to her current university job by UHV President Tim Hudson in 2006.

Leadership Texas, now in its 27th consecutive year, is the flagship program of the Foundation for Women’s Resources headquartered in Dallas.Leadership Texas is patterned after the co-educational civic programs that have found success in a number of cities throughout the nation. More than 2,500 women have completed the Texas program.

The theme for the 2009 program year is “The Changing Face of Texas.” Participants will visit Austin, Texarkana, Galveston Island, El Paso and Fort Worth. Each city’s opportunities and challenges will increase the participants’ knowledge of the state’s rapidly changing economy, education and environment, said Candace O’Keefe-Mathis, CEO of the Foundation for Women’s Resources.

“We consider it a privilege to offer these influential women leaders new perspectives, opinions and validation on some of the issues, people and places they might not otherwise encounter outside of the program,” O’Keefe-Mathis said.

Rice started at UHV in 1999 as the first director of the Letting Education Achieve Dreams (LEAD) program, which focuses on increasing enrollment among Hispanics and other minorities, first-generation college students and other groups typically underrepresented at colleges and universities. The initiative received the 2001 Excellence in Higher Education Award from the Association of Texas Colleges and Universities.

Rice also is a board member of Texas Women in Higher Education, the Victoria Business and Education Coalition, and the African American Chamber of Commerce of Victoria.

In February, Rice was recognized for her work toward the effort to expand UHV to a four-year university. The Special Recognition Award was presented by Hudson at the university’s annual Employee Recognition Luncheon.

“Dr. Rice is one of UHV’s finest leaders, and I know she’ll have a lot to offer Leadership Texas as she learns more about this great state,” he said.

Suzanne LaBrecque, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs, was a member of the Leadership Texas Class of 1998 when she was an administrator at the University of North Texas in Denton. She agreed that Rice would gain new insight from the program.

“To be selected for this program is quite an achievement and is testimony to Dr. Rice’s outstanding work,” she said.“As a graduate of the program, I know she will learn a great deal and bring us new ideas.”

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.

Paula Cobler