UHV graduates to hear speech by alumnus, San Antonio morning news anchor

Close to 400 University of Houston-Victoria students are expected to participate in two graduation ceremonies on Saturday and listen to a successful alumnus tell them about the difference a UHV degree has made in his life.

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

Ernie Zuniga

Victoria native Ernie Zuniga, co-host of the KABB FOX 29 San Antonio morning news show “FOX News First,” will deliver the keynote address at both ceremonies. Zuniga graduated from St. Joseph High School in Victoria and earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication from UHV in 1998.

“I know our graduating students and their friends and families can’t wait for Saturday to get here,” UHV President Phil Castille said. “UHV faculty and staff are looking forward to helping them celebrate their achievement, and Mr. Zuniga will provide students with an inspiring example of the career possibilities that a UHV degree will open.”

The Honorable Nelda Blair, chair of the UH System Board of Regents, will bring greetings on behalf of the board at both ceremonies.

UHV Faculty Senate President Denise Neill will serve as the grand marshal. The deans of UHV’s four schools will award students diplomas, and Castille 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.

Zuniga previously spent nine years as a sports anchor and reporter, including more than four years in San Antonio and two years in Phoenix. His first broadcast job was at KAVU-TV Newscenter 25 in Victoria. In addition to his duties at KABB FOX 29, he serves as the play-by-play announcer during live high school football telecasts of “Thursday Night Lights” on San Antonio’s CW 35.

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

LeAnn Wagner

The UHV School of Nursing also will have a pinning ceremony for its graduates at 3 p.m. Saturday at Faith Family Church. Twenty-eight students graduating from the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and six from the Master of Science in Nursing program will receive special pins. The ceremony will include the first class graduating from UHV’s RN to BSN program in The Woodlands.

The speaker for the pinning ceremony will be LeAnn Wagner, a longtime nurse and former dean of the Victoria College Allied Health Division. Wagner retired from Victoria College in January. She now works part time as a nursing program site surveyor for the Texas Board of Nursing.

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