UHV graduates to celebrate achievements at fall commencement

KATY – More than 575 University of Houston-Victoria students are scheduled to walk in Saturday’s fall commencement, making it the largest graduation ceremony in school history.

UHV will hold fall graduation at 11 a.m. in the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 Stadium Lane. Seating is open, and family and friends may arrive as early as 10 a.m.  

A record 609 students applied to graduate this fall, up 14 percent from fall 2011. During the fall 2011 commencement, 390 students participated in the ceremony.  

Phil Castille

“It is a privilege to preside over the biggest UHV commencement ever,” UHV President Phil Castille said. “It is exciting to have this many students from our more than 60 undergraduate and graduate majors and concentrations coming to the Merrell Center to celebrate their special day.”  

The Honorable Roger Welder, a Victoria resident who serves on the UH System Board of Regents, will bring greetings on behalf of the board. Renu Khator, chancellor of the UH System and president of UH, also will speak to the graduates and their guests.  

UHV Faculty Senate President Denise Neill of the School of Nursing will serve as the grand marshal during the ceremony. On behalf of the faculty, the deans of UHV’s four schools will award students diplomas. Castille will confer the degrees. Outstanding students for the fall semester from all four schools also will be recognized.  

Himesh Gandhi

Himesh Gandhi, an attorney and Sugar Land city councilman, will deliver the keynote address. Gandhi is an attorney and partner with the law firm Hrbacek & Gandhi P.C. in Sugar Land.  

Known for his community and civic involvement, Gandhi was elected in May to the Sugar Land City Council. At age 35, he became the youngest candidate in history to win an at-large Sugar Land City Council seat.  

“Councilman Gandhi is an active community leader who is interested in promoting the value of higher education,” Castille said.  

A reception for the graduates and their families will be held on the arena floor after commencement concludes.  

Barbara Lazor

UHV holds graduation ceremonies in two different locations each year. Spring commencement is in Victoria, while the fall ceremony is held in Katy to better accommodate the number of UHV students who take classes at campuses and learning centers in Greater Houston.  

The UHV School of Nursing will have a pinning ceremony for its graduates at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Merrell Center. More than 90 students graduating from the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Second Degree BSN and Master of Science in Nursing programs will receive special pins.  

The speaker for the pinning ceremony will be Barbara Lazor, chief nursing officer for CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital in Katy. Lazor has been responsible for all nursing areas and support departments at the hospital since 2005.  

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.

Jeremy Shapiro