UHV pays tribute to former president Glenn Goerke

Glenn Goerke, left, and Debbie Hannah, former UH System Board of Regent chair, answer questions during a 1986 press conference announcing Goerke as the new president of University of Houston-Victoria. He served as UHV’s president until 1991.

As the fourth president of the University of Houston-Victoria, Glenn Goerke increased enrollment and procured the university’s largest private donation ever for student scholarships as part of a comprehensive fundraising effort.

Goerke, UHV’s president from 1986 to 1991, died Nov. 13 in Wolfeboro, N.H. He was 84.

Vic Morgan

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Bayou Building, Atrium II at UH-Clear Lake, 2700 Bay Area Blvd. in Houston. Goerke also was president at UH and UH-Clear Lake.

“Dr. Goerke’s vision and leadership helped shape UHV into what it is today,” UHV Interim President Vic Morgan said. “He left his mark in so many ways here in Victoria and across the UH System. While we are saddened by his passing, we will remember and honor his accomplishments.”

Diane Prince, a longtime professor and former dean in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development, said Goerke was a strong and inclusive leader, and a friend to the Victoria community.

“He brought great stability to our university and employed some very talented administrators,” she said. “Among these were Don Smith, former provost and interim president, and Wayne Beran, vice president for administration and finance.”

Diane Prince

Goerke returned to UHV in 2011 as part of a “Celebrating the Legacy of UHV” event series. At the time, he said he had many fond memories of UHV and Victoria.

“Don’t ever lose track of how strong this community is and how great it is,” he told the audience.

Goerke’s legacy continues 25 years after he left the presidency in many ways, including helping students afford college.

Established at UHV in 1991, the Glenn and Joyce Goerke Scholarship Endowment provides need-based scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students. Since 1996, 52 students have received financial assistance from the endowment, including five in 2015 and two so far this year. A total of $30,654 has been distributed to scholarship recipients since 1996.

A native of Lincoln Park, Mich., Goerke earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti. In 1964, he earned a doctorate in adult and higher education from Michigan State University in East Lansing. He went on to serve in many academic and administrative leadership roles at colleges in Michigan, Florida, Rhode Island and Indiana before arriving at UHV.

Under Goerke’s leadership, UHV’s enrollment climbed. According to a 1987 article in the UHVoice, the university’s former student newspaper, UHV’s spring enrollment was 938 students, a record at the time and an increase of 6.5 percent from the previous spring.

Goerke and Dorothy Alcorn, a former regent on the UH System Board of Regents, met with Albert Alkek, who lived in Victoria at that time. They asked Alkek to contribute to the university’s Margin of Excellence Campaign and were thrilled when he gave $1 million.

Joe Ferguson

Joe Ferguson, senior director of Academic & Student Technology Services, said Goerke was the first UHV president to start a major fundraising campaign.

“I remember he called everyone he could think of, and we all went to a bed and breakfast for a meeting about fundraising,” Ferguson said. “He asked us every question imaginable. I bet we answered 50 questions. He then asked about ways to raise funds and what to direct donations toward.”

In 1989, Goerke served as interim chancellor for the UH System’s four campuses and spurred development of the System’s inaugural six-year academic plan. Concurrently, he served as the System’s vice chancellor for special projects, while continuing to serve as UHV president.

Locally, he was president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the Victoria Rotary Club’s Citizen of the Year.

Goerke went on to serve as president of UH-Clear Lake from 1991 to 1995 and president of UH from 1995 to 1997. He returned to Clear Lake in 2000 as an education faculty member.

In 1997, the UH Board of Regents passed a resolution giving Goerke the title of president emeritus at UHV, UH and UHCL. He is the only person to hold that distinction at all three universities.

In retirement, Goerke spent six months each year at Lake Wentworth in Wolfeboro, N.H., and six months in Houston. He remained active professionally and as a consultant.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Glenn and Joyce Goerke Endowment Scholarship at UHV by visiting For more information about the endowment, contact the UHV Office of Advancement & External Relations at 361-570-4812 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