UHV students to walk in two graduation ceremonies Saturday

More than 400 University of Houston-Victoria students are expected to participate on Saturday in the university’s commencement, which for the first time will feature two ceremonies to accommodate growth.

Both ceremonies will take place at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane. A 9 a.m. ceremony will be for students graduating from the schools of Business Administration and Education & Human Development. A 1 p.m. ceremony will be for those graduating from the schools of Arts & Sciences and Nursing.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Award-winning author and poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni will deliver the commencement address at the ceremonies.

“Saturday is a special day in the lives of our graduating students and their families, and UHV faculty and staff are looking forward to helping them mark this momentous occasion,” UHV Interim President Don Smith said. “Dr. Divakaruni’s inspirational words also will help guide our graduates as they look to the future.”

Don Smith
Don Smith

UHV Faculty Senate President Jane Devick Fry will serve as the grand marshal during the ceremonies. The deans of UHV’s four schools will award students diplomas during their respective ceremonies, and Smith will confer the degrees. Outstanding students for the spring semester also will be recognized, along with faculty members receiving 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 during the morning ceremony, and John Antel, UH System senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, will address the audience at both ceremonies.

Divakaruni, the Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Creative Writing at UH, also visited Victoria in 2007 as part of the UHV/American Book Review Spring Reading Series.

Her pieces have been published in more than 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and in more than 50 anthologies. Her work has been translated into 20 languages.

Her first book of short stories, “Arranged Marriage,” won critical acclaim and a 1996 American Book Award. Her 1997 novel, “The Mistress of Spices,” was turned into a 2005 film by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges, the same team that created the successful movie “Bend it Like Beckham.”

Divakaruni was born in India and lived there until 1976, at which point she left Calcutta and came to the U.S. She has a master’s degree in English from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.

Her most recent book, 2010’s “One Amazing Thing,” focuses on nine people trapped in an office after an earthquake. Each person tells an amazing tale from his life that he has never told anyone before.

Following both commencement ceremonies, receptions for graduates and their guests will take place in the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St.

The UHV School of Nursing also will have a pinning ceremony for its graduates at 3:30 p.m. at Faith Family Church. Students graduating from the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and the Master of Science in Nursing programs will have special pins placed on their clothing.

The speaker for the pinning ceremony will be Janet Leatherwood, vice president and chief nursing officer of the Methodist Sugar Land Hospital in Sugar Land. Leatherwood also is chair of the UHV President’s Regional Advisory Board and a member of the UHV School of Nursing Advisory Board in Sugar Land.

For more information about UHV commencement, contact special events coordinator Nancy Gresham at 361-570-4351 or

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