New community leaders step up to join UHV Presidents Regional Advisory Board

The University of Houston-Victoria President's Regional Advisory Board recently elected four new members to help guide the path of the growing institution.


Jean Herman, Dr. Dakshesh "Kumar" Parikh, Omar Rachid and James Villafranca, all of the Victoria area, were elected to three-year terms on the board during the regular July meeting.


"We're very fortunate to have these well-established community leaders join the board," UHV President Tim Hudson said. "They will be valued advisers and advocates as our university continues to grow and prosper."


The board serves as UHV's principal external advisory body with a mission of strengthening and advancing the university and its programs, and providing counsel for its strategic direction.


There are 20 voting 2008-2009 board members who will be led by Chairman Hernan Jaso of Goliad. In September, Jaso will take over as chairman from Susan Cain of Victoria. The new members complement the current board with outstanding records of community leadership and unique expertise.


Jean Herman
Herman brings her extensive nursing knowledge gained from 32 years of working at DeTar Healthcare System as chief quality officer, chief nursing officer and associate nursing director. In her current role as chief quality officer, she oversees the quality initiatives in all aspects of clinical care.


She has served on the advisory boards for the Registered Nurse and Licensed Vocational Nurse programs at The Victoria College. Herman is a 1985 alumnus of UHV with a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences, and holds a master's degree in nursing from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.


Herman said she particularly was interested in continuing to work with the new School of Nursing.


"I'm looking forward to helping with growth and development opportunities," Herman said.


Dr. Dakshesh "Kumar" Parikh
Parikh brings extensive healthcare expertise garnered as an experienced cardiologist in private practice in Victoria. He is also an advocate for education.


Parikh carries numerous board certifications, is a member and past officer in many professional organizations, and also has published several research papers in the field of cardiology.


"The university advances a noble cause by imparting education to our community," Parikh said. "Education is power. If we can enlighten future generations with advanced learning right here in Victoria, I think we can build a really strong community."


Omar Rachid
Rachid brings with him an extensive record of community knowledge, leadership and service. Rachid works at Citizens Medical Center as a physician recruiter, a position he took after serving as vice president of marketing and public relations for C.L. Thomas Inc., the parent company of Thomas Petroleum and Speedy Stop Stores.


Originally from Lebanon, Rachid has been a fixture in the Victoria community since 1994. He is a past chairman of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce and has served in a number of roles with the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross, Victoria County United Way, Victoria Rotary Club, Victoria Adult Literacy Council, Golden Crescent YMCA, Victoria Community Theatre, Mid-Coast Family Services and the Victoria Independent School District Education Foundation and continues to be active in those organizations.


"I hope I can bring a community perspective and some new ideas, and contribute to increasing enrollment," Rachid said. "I also want to learn more about UHV, and I hope to contribute to its mission and growth opportunity."


James Villafranca
Victoria native Villafranca also brings a long history of community service. Villafranca has worked at DuPont for 27 years, and now serves as lab supervisor. He was active in the Victoria Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and was instrumental in its merger with the Victoria Chamber of Commerce in 2005. He has served as treasurer, chairman elect and chairman of the Victoria chamber. He also is president of the Victoria Fine Arts Association and a board member of the Victoria Independent School District Education Foundation and the Victoria Business and Education Coalition.


"I'm very excited about what the growth of UHV means for this city and this region," Villafranca said. "I'm looking forward to the possibilities of a four-year institution here in Victoria prospering alongside The Victoria College. Those kinds of things will make Victoria grow, draw new businesses here and improve the quality of life for everyone who calls this place home."


The new members officially take their posts at the next PRAB meeting in September. The board meets about four times a year.

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.

Thomas Doyle 361-570-4342