State senator to speak at UHV fall commencement

Texas State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst will deliver the keynote address during the University of Houston-Victoria fall commencement ceremony on Dec. 12.

The commencement will begin at 11 a.m. at the Leonard E. Merrell Center, 6301 S. Stadium Lane in Katy.

Lois Kolkhorst

“I’m honored to be invited to speak at the University of Houston-Victoria’s upcoming graduation ceremony in Katy,” Kolkhorst said. “Year after year, UHV has stepped up to meet the needs of our growing state, and I’m proud to be a part of an institution with such a great record of achievement. A quality education is one of the fundamental keys to success, and UHV is one of the reasons our region has such a vibrant and thriving economy.”

With the support of Kolkhorst and Rep. Geanie Morrison, the Texas Legislature approved several bills during the 2015 session that provide significant financial assistance in helping the university achieve its goal of 6,000 students in Victoria by 2025. UHV will receive $60 million in campus construction bonds for academic expansion and land acquisition. UHV also received an increase of $375,000 each year in formula funding.

“Sen. Kolkhorst has been a vital supporter of education during her 15 years serving in the Texas Legislature,” UHV President Vic Morgan said. “I’m thrilled she has graciously agreed to give the keynote address to our graduates. I think her insights and experiences will provide our graduates with a few final pearls of wisdom before they depart the university.”

Vic Morgan

After serving 14 years in the Texas House, Kolkhorst was elected in December to the Texas Senate in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Glenn Hegar, now the Texas comptroller. She announced on Monday that she was running for re-election in 2016. The Republican from Brenham serves Senate District 18, representing all or part of 21 Texas counties, including Victoria, Lavaca, Jackson and Wharton counties and the western portion of Fort Bend County.

In 1987, Kolkhorst graduated from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in advertising and public relations. She was a four-year golf letter winner and an All-Academic Southwest Conference athlete.

Kolkhorst worked in TCU athletic administration for eight years and later served as CEO of the Washington County Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation of Brenham. She was first elected to the Texas House in 2000 and then was re-elected seven times.

In her first session as senator, Kolkhorst was appointed to five key committees: Finance; Education; Health & Human Services; Transportation & Agriculture; and Water & Rural Affairs. She was vice chair of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services and has written landmark legislation to toughen Texas laws on medical privacy.

In addition, she has served three times on the state’s budget conference committee, most recently during the final negotiations on the state’s $209 billion budget passed in 2015. She also recently was named to the Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System.

Kolkhorst spoke with several UHV students in the spring about the future of the university. She also was instrumental in working with students to pass a bill allowing for the assessment of a student fee for the purpose of financing, constructing, operating, maintaining and improving a UHV student center, Morgan said. The center is scheduled to open in 2018, and it will have a bookstore, food court and space for students to study, hang out and hold events.

“As a member of the Senate Committee on Education, Sen. Kolkhorst helped launch several successful initiatives that supported public education,” Morgan said. “We appreciate how she took the time to meet with our students to hear their thoughts on continuing to build a destination university.”

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. Summer and fall graduates have the option of attending the commencement ceremony in Katy or waiting until the May graduation in Victoria.

For more information about commencement, contact UHV 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