UHV honors four students for commitment to university, community

Spirit of the Jaguar Award winners, Eliseo Olvera, left, Taylor Henderson, Alba Sanchez and Laura Caldwell, receive an award during the University of Houston-Victoria Convocation ceremony.


University of Houston-Victoria student Eliseo Olvera learned a lifelong lesson from volunteering weekly at Patti Welder Middle School last school year.

“It taught me the value of putting others before myself,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience and one I’m planning on doing again this year. It’s a good feeling helping out people.”

Olvera was one of four UHV sophomores who recently received the second annual Spirit of the Jaguar Award. The winners received a plaque and a $500 scholarship. They were honored during UHV’s Convocation.

The awards went to:

  • Laura Caldwell, New Braunfels, School of Education & Human Development
  • Taylor Henderson, San Antonio, School of Arts & Sciences
  • Eliseo Olvera, Houston, School of Education & Human Development
  • Alba Sanchez, Equatorial Guinea, School of Arts & Sciences

The Spirit of the Jaguar Award recognizes students for their integrity, respect and citizenship.

Lindsey Koch, director of UHV Student Life and Services, said it’s important for the university to recognize success and reward students who go above and beyond.

“In evaluating the students for this award, we wanted to see more than academic success,” Koch said. “We wanted to see that they had an impact in their community and how were they trying to grow as a person.”

Students with a 3.25 or higher grade-point average were eligible to apply for the award. Applicants were asked to write a letter about their level of commitment to the university, community and self improvement in learning as well as their appreciation of diversity. A panel of university officials sorted through the applicants and selected the winners.

The four winners understood what it meant to make the university better, Koch said.

“They made it clear they knew what it meant to be committed, and they told us some specifics on how they had grown,” she said.

Olvera said it meant a lot to him to be recognized.

“If you have the right mindset and are willing to help others, you can achieve so much,” he said. “Students should realize they have an opportunity to do good for UHV and Victoria. People pay attention when college students are making a difference.”

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.

Jeremy Shapiro