Prominent real estate financier to give UHV fall commencement speaker

A leading expert on mortgages and real estate financing will address University of Houston-Victoria graduates during the university’s fall commencement ceremony.

Steven Kaufman

Steven Kaufman, president and CEO of Zeus Mortgage Ltd. and a UHV alumnus, will be the ceremony’s keynote speaker. The graduation begins at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane in Katy.

Zeus Mortgage is a Houston-based mortgage provider of home-equity loans and mortgages. Kaufman has coordinated more than $1 billion in real estate financing for companies including American Express, Hewlett Packard and Exxon Mobil. His company is the 37th fastest growing private financial service firms in the U.S., according to Inc. Magazine.

Kaufman earned a Master of Science in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship in 2011 from UHV.

“We are delighted Mr. Kaufman has accepted our invitation to speak at fall commencement,” UHV President Phil Castille said. “It’s always a pleasure to have a distinguished alumnus return to address our newest graduates. Mr. Kaufman is a dynamic entrepreneur who has accumulated numerous accolades in his business. He’ll do a great job addressing the graduates on their special day.”

Kaufman said he plans to talk with the fall 2013 class about what success looks like after graduation. He also will discuss why the “tassel is worth the hassle” and what happens if people don’t reach their own ambitions.

“People set out to achieve lofty goals, but often they fall short and hit a plateau,” Kaufman said. “I will talk about why that occurs psychologically and how to address it.”

Phil Castille

Kaufman said his UHV degree helped him understand the distinction between entrepreneurship and economic development, and how real wealth comes from job creation.

“On the practical side, my degree taught me presentation skills from an economic development standpoint. It also alerted me to financials that I had never been exposed to before even as a CPA.”

Kaufman frequently is interviewed by local and national news organizations about the current financial markets. He has spoken to UHV business students during the School of Business Administration Alumni Week and was the keynote speaker for a UHV Bachelor of Business Administration Conference. He also is a member of the School of Business Administration Dean’s Advisory Council.

Kaufman said he gives back to UHV because he wants everyone to realize how great the school is.

“The degree I got was pretty phenomenal,” Kaufman said. “I’ve taken executive education at Harvard, and I’ve taken other continuing nonaccredited education. But the MSEDE program at UHV is for people with a serious business mind. I want the degree to grow because it’s really valuable.”

Kaufman has won several honors, including the 2006 National Leadership Award and the 2007 National Republican Congressional Committee Business Leader of the Year Award. National Mortgage Professional Magazine recently ranked Steven as one of the “Top 40 Most Influential Mortgage Professionals in the United States,” and the Houston Business Journal recently ranked him as one of the “Top 40 Under 40 in Houston.”

Kaufman is co-author of “Off the Coast of Zanzibar.” He also is an accomplished powerlifter, having broken the state bench press record five times. He and his wife, Monique, have two daughters, Laurel and Vivian.

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 UHV students who take classes in Greater Houston.

For more information about commencement, please 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