Alcoa Foundation grant helps college open doors for area residents

The University of Houston-Victoria's efforts to extend the benefits of higher education to more people in the area received a $15,000 boost through a recent grant from Alcoa Foundation.


"This contribution will help us spread the word about the empowering nature of higher education, especially to those groups that are underrepresented on our campuses," UHV Vice President Dick Phillips said. Phillips oversees giving at the university.


Among the many causes it supports, Alcoa Foundation seeks out programs working to improve global education and workplace skills, a local spokesperson said.


"As a major employer in the Victoria area, it's important for us to invest in initiatives that improve educational and employment opportunities for people in our region," said Laurel Cahill, community affairs supervisor with Alcoa Point Comfort Operations. "The programs funded at the University of Houston-Victoria all focus on access and retention, and career awareness and training."


The funds will be used to support three outreach efforts: Letting Education Achieve Dreams (LEAD) Fiesta Day, College 101 Open Houses, and Math and Computer Science Awareness Day.


Fiesta Day is a cooperative effort between UHV and The Victoria College to celebrate Hispanic culture and heritage in the community, while at the same time allowing potential students to get more information about the higher education opportunities available here. The event is scheduled around Cinco de Mayo each year.


The Alcoa Foundation grant will help pay for aspiring students to take college entrance exams as part of the College 101 Clinics, which provide perspective students and their parents assistance with the sometimes-intimidating process of applying for college. The funding also will help bring motivational speakers to the College 101 Open Houses. The speakers are the culminating event of the clinics. Open houses are held every fall and spring.


Math and Computer Science Awareness Day provides activities and competitions for area high schools students to motivate them to pursue careers in these high-demand fields. Each fall, students attend classes and compete in math and computer science contests. Past events have included computer programming classes and robot building contests. Contestants can win scholarships to UHV and VC.


"I'd like to thank Alcoa Foundation for its generosity and investment in the future and our staff members for their continuing efforts to create innovative programs that open the doors of higher education to everyone," UHV President Tim Hudson said. "These funds will help more students in our region achieve their dreams."

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