First Freshman Awards Banquet brings out 'Spirit of the Jaguar'

UHV Interim President Don Smith presented Spirit of the Jaguar Awards to students, from left, Yancey Moreno, Stacie Garcia, Juan Andrade, Lauren Clark and Moses Olukoya at the first-ever UHV Freshman Awards Banquet. Not pictured were recipients Brandon Bohanon, Amber Hermes and Tara Williams.

University of Houston-Victoria held its first Freshman Awards Banquet on Monday and honored students with a new award for achievements in academics, leadership and citizenship.

The banquet marked a culmination of the first year for freshmen and sophomores at the university since underclassmen were added in the fall.

“There is much significance in being first as there will never be another,” UHV Interim President Don Smith said during the event. “This was a challenging year for everyone, and you are to be commended for keeping your focus on academics throughout this time.”

Eight students received the new Spirit of the Jaguar Award, which recognizes integrity, respect, citizenship and academics. Students were nominated by faculty and staff and asked to write a letter of interest, in which they provided examples of their first-year activities that showed their commitment to personal and intellectual growth, their families, the university and the community. The Spirit of the Jaguar Award, which includes a plaque and a $500 scholarship, was awarded to:

  • Juan Andrade, Sinton, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Brandon Bohanon, Houston, School of Education & Human Development
  • Lauren Clark, Missouri City, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Stacie Garcia, Victoria, School of Education & Human Development
  • Amber Lynn Hermes, Hallettsville, School of Education & Human Development
  • Yancey Moreno, Houston, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Oluseun Moses Olukoya, Victoria, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Tara Williams, Victoria, School of Arts & Sciences

Sandra Heinold, director of UHV Academic and Career Services, recognized freshmen who made the fall Dean’s List by earning a 3.5 grade-point average or better.

Smith presented the President’s List awards for students who earned a 4.0 GPA in the fall. They were:

  • Brandy Aguilar, San Antonio, School of Business Administration
  • Chelsea Deleon, Houston, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Jill Greve, Sugar Land, School of Business Administration
  • Kelly Tough, Katy, School of Business Administration
  • Tara Williams, Victoria, School of Arts & Sciences

Suzanne LaBrecque, UHV provost and vice president for academic affairs, remembered the first graduation ceremony she attended while in high school.

“I saw a sign that read ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,’ and that applies to you students who have taken your first step in higher education,” she said.

LaBrecque reminded students not to take short cuts and to “aim high, work hard, serve well and love much.”

Lindsey Koch, director of UHV Student Life and Services, said the university will start a Sophomore Leadership Academy in the fall. Students will study leadership styles, models and how they can apply the lessons to their own lives. The Sophomore Leadership Academy also will offer $1,000 scholarships to those who successfully complete the training.

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