UHV graduates to celebrate milestone at fall commencement ceremony

Randy Clapp

KATY – More than 400 University of Houston-Victoria students are scheduled to walk Saturday in the university’s fall commencement ceremony, which will include a keynote address from a district court judge.

The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane. Judge Randy M. Clapp, who presides over the 329th Judicial District Court in Wharton County, will deliver the commencement address.

“UHV faculty and staff are looking forward to helping these students and their families celebrate this special day in their lives,” UHV Interim President Don Smith said. “We also are looking forward to hearing Judge Clapp’s inspirational words.”

UHV Faculty Senate President Jane Devick Fry will serve as the grand marshal during the ceremony. The deans of UHV’s four schools will award students their diplomas, and Smith will confer the degrees. Outstanding students for the fall semester also will be recognized, along with faculty members who previously received awards for excellence in teaching, research and service.

Carroll Robertson Ray, chair of the UH System Board of Regents, will bring greetings on behalf of the board, and Renu Khator, chancellor of the UH System, also will address the audience. Regent Andrew Cobos will be in attendance.

Clapp was asked to give the keynote address as a longtime UHV supporter and advocate. He is a member and past chairman of the UHV President’s Regional Advisory Board. He also received the UHV People Who Make a Difference Award in 2001.

He was appointed in 2007 by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to his current position as a district court judge. Prior to that, he was an attorney and partner at Duckett, Bouligny & Collins LLP in El Campo, and served in the U.S. Army as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in Fort McClellan, Ala.

Clapp serves in numerous community organizations and has received many recognitions. He is director and past president of the El Campo Economic Development Corp., and a member of the board of trustees and past chairman of the West Wharton County Hospital District. He is past chairman of the Board of Trustees of Wharton County Junior College, and is a board member of both the Texas Healthcare Trustees and the Northside Education Center.

In addition, he is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the American Bar Association, the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit and the Electric Cooperative Bar Association. He is a member and past president of the Wharton County Bar Association.

Clapp graduated magna cum laude from Trinity University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and received his law degree with honors from the University of Texas, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif. He and his wife, Melba, have six grown children and two grandchildren.

Following the fall commencement ceremony, a reception for graduates and their guests will take place in the Merrell Center.

The UHV School of Nursing also will have a pinning ceremony for all its graduates in the afternoon at the Merrell Center. Students graduating from the Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the Registered Nurse to BSN, and the Master of Science in Nursing programs will have special pins placed on their outfits. The speaker for the 1:30 p.m. ceremony will be Steven Brockman-Weber, the chief nursing officer and chief operating officer at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land.

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