UHV, Victoria Advocate announce planned endowment during annual report event

Key players in the new Victoria Advocate Endowment for the Humanities pause for a moment during the 2007-2008 UHV President’s Annual Report and Excellence Awards, where the donation was announced Thursday night. Pictured from left are Chris Cobler, Victoria Advocate Editor; Charles Alcorn, American Book Review Managing Editor, Dan Easton, Advocate Vice President and Assistant General Manager, and spouse Camille Easton; James and Kay McHaney, Advocate co-owners; Tim Hudson, UHV President; Jeffrey Di Leo, Dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences; and Thomas Williams, chair of the UHV Humanities department.

The University of Houston-Victoria and the Victoria Advocate are working toward a partnership that would establish a new endowed humanities professorship at the university, it was announced Thursday at the UHV President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards event.

The McHaney/Roberts families, who own the 162-year-old local newspaper, plan on establishing the Victoria Advocate Endowed Professorship of Humanities with a gift of $125,000 paid during the course of five years. The gift assumes UHV will become a four-year university, which officials hope will be approved by the Texas Legislature by the end of its next session.

"We are thrilled to be promoting and developing excellence in the communication arts at both UHV and within the community we serve," said Victoria Advocate Editor Chris Cobler, who talked about the proposed endowment at the annual report event. "This new position will benefit the university, the community and the Advocate because it will allow a highly qualified professor to be hired to teach UHV communications courses and work with the Advocate on various journalism projects."

The School of Arts & Sciences will begin the hiring process immediately and have the new communications professor start as soon as possible, Dean Jeffrey Di Leo said.

"We appreciate the generosity of the Advocate in establishing this endowment," he said. "It will benefit UHV students and the community for years to come by providing support for us to hire a communications professor. It’s our hope to find an individual who will be able to serve the needs of our students and the Victoria community on all aspects of the modern media."

The announcement about the endowment was made at the end of the annual report event, which attracted more than 150 area leaders to UHV Thursday evening. UHV President Tim Hudson and several other speakers talked about the university’s accomplishments in 2007-2008. The theme of the annual report was "Dare to dream. Dare to Achieve."

"We chose this theme because bold dreams have led to some wonderful achievements at UHV during this past year," Hudson said. "The School of Nursing, the addition of our baseball and softball teams, and our growing literary enterprises are examples. Our ability to provide high-quality, affordable education for our students led to record enrollment."

For the first time, an annual report booklet was not handed out at the event. Advances in technology and UHV’s continued commitment to the environment caused administrators to decide to put the report online at UHV was the first public university in Texas to sign the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment dedicating it to environmental stewardship.

Although area residents can view the Web site now, within the next few days, videos from Thursday’s celebration and an event photo gallery will be added. The Web site currently features video presentations shown during the annual report event; faculty, staff, student and alumni highlights; UHV’s enrollment and financial figures; a list of donors and much more.

The videos shown during the event featured 23 students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members sharing how UHV has helped them achieve their dreams in the areas of academics, athletics, international partnerships, and the university and community relationship. UHV speakers Suzanne LaBrecque, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Ashley Walyuchow, athletic director; Vic Padelford, international programs director; and Hudson then talked about 2007-2008 highlights in each area.

To recognize the power of partnerships and leadership, Hudson gave out a number of awards. Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, accepted the Community Partnership Award on behalf of the organization for its support of UHV through scholarships and promotion of activities at the university. UHV Student Senate President Kristen Lindley received the Student Leadership Award for her role in numerous groups at the university and her outstanding academic performance.

In addition, UHV faculty and staff members were recognized for awards they had previously received. Tim Berkey, an assistant professor in the School of Education & Human Development, was recognized with the Enron Teaching Excellence Award for his outstanding teaching. Nagarajan Ramamoorthy, a Fulbright award recipient and an associate professor in the School of Business Administration, was honored with the Research and Scholarly Activities Award, and Barba Patton, an assistant professor in the School of Education & Human Development, received the Distinguished Faculty Service Award. Sandra Wood, administrative secretary for the School of Arts & Sciences, was recognized with the Employee of the Year Award.

"Many of UHV’s dreams and our students’ dreams have been realized thanks to our generous and dedicated partners – the faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members who believe in making UHV an outstanding university of choice," Hudson said. "Another banner year for UHV is on the horizon; we’re counting on next year’s event being all about downward expansion."

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.

Paula Cobler