LEAD sets up UHV ‘Achieve Your Dreams’ scholarship endowment

The University of Houston-Victoria Letting Education Achieve Dreams program has created a scholarship endowment to benefit first-generation university students.

The new endowment, funded after two softball tournaments in 2009 and 2010, is called “Achieve Your Dreams” and will create scholarships for students whose parents did not earn bachelor’s degrees, said Denee Thomas, senior director of enrollment management.

Denee Thomas
Denee Thomas

“In the spirit of UHV’s commitment to provide quality education for a diverse student body, preference will be given to students who do not come from a college-educated background,” Thomas said.

As the endowment grows, it may fund multiple awards each year, Thomas said. When multiple scholarships are able to be awarded, at least one will be made to a student transferring from or concurrently enrolled at Victoria College.

“We’re going to continue to raise funds for the endowment,” Thomas said. “We see UHV playing an important part in educating the young people of our region.”

Students must enroll part time or full time at UHV and have at least a 2.0 grade-point average.

Thomas praised LEAD staff members for creativity and hard work in their fundraising efforts.

Billy Lagal
Billy Lagal

“The original idea came from a co-worker, and I had a softball league background,” Senior LEAD Coordinator Billy Lagal said. “We did a lot of the planning, solicited donations, set up scheduling, recruited teams and set up publicity.”

Lagal said between the two tournaments, LEAD raised more than $10,000, the amount required to start an endowment.

Local businesses were supportive of the softball tournaments, donating everything from gift cards, to cookie bouquets, to pizzas, and even a lawn chair, Lagal said. Local media helped get the word out about the events.

“We want to do a bowling tournament next,” Lagal said.

LEAD’s vision is to raise the education level in the Victoria area by promoting higher education among underserved, underrepresented and nontraditional students. It works with students by helping them through the university’s processes, from admissions, to degree information and mentoring. For more information, call 361-570-4893.

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.

Ken Cooke 361-570-4342