UHV receives $300,000 grant for scholarships

The University of Houston-Victoria recently received a $300,000 grant from the M.G. & Lillie A. Johnson Foundation to fund scholarships for area students who are pursuing degrees in nursing and other health-related fields.

The university acknowledged the grant Tuesday evening as a special announcement at the end of the UHV President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards. The funds will be distributed as scholarships to students who are from Victoria County or one of the 13 surrounding counties.

“The M. G. & Lillie A. Johnson Foundation has been investing in the growth and development of UHV for many years, and a big part of that is funding scholarships for students from our region who are preparing to be tomorrow’s health professionals,” said Robert Halepeska, executive vice president of the foundation. “We are happy to be a part of UHV’s story: past, present and future.”

Jesse Pisors

The scholarships will be awarded by UHV Financial Aid on an as-needed basis. In addition to being regional residents, students must be pursuing a degree in nursing or another health-related field and have at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. The scholarships are available for both graduate and undergraduate students.

The Johnson Foundation has been a longtime supporter of UHV’s nursing program and other health-related programs for years, and their donations have touched the lives of many students who went on to become medical and health professionals, said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations.

“UHV is grateful for the Johnson Foundation’s legacy of supporting health education in the region, especially in terms of their many donations, grants and endowments that have helped UHV’s students through new facilities and scholarships,” Pisors said. “As with every scholarship grant, UHV will work to use these funds to create the widest impact and help the most students possible. It’s difficult to overstate how much these funds will mean to students who will get critical financial assistance toward earning their degrees.”

Victoria Thomas

For Victoria Thomas, UHV clinical professor and interim director of the nursing program, the donation is an exciting resource for students who want to become nurses and health professionals, especially in the context of the past two years and the pandemic that has impacted the world. Even before the pandemic, there was a nationwide shortage of nurses. Now, as the stress of the pandemic has taken a toll on the nursing profession and the shortage has gotten worse, it is encouraging to receive continued support from groups such as the Johnson Foundation.

“During the pandemic, it became increasingly obvious that nurses and others in health care fields are critical to our communities,” Thomas said. “I am thrilled that UHV will receive this donation in support of its students that will allow them to accomplish their goals. Individuals who go into nursing and health care have a heart to help others, and we want to support and encourage them as much as possible. These funds will allow us to do just that.”

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.