UHV launches fundraising campaign

Jesse Pisors, left, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations; stands with Buddy Brock, an M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation board member; Robert Halepeska, executive vice president for the foundation; and UHV President Vic Morgan
Jesse Pisors, left, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations; stands with Buddy Brock, an M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation board member; Robert Halepeska, executive vice president for the foundation; and UHV President Vic Morgan after it was announced that the foundation gave almost $840,000 to the university. The gift was announced Tuesday at the 2016-2017 UHV President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards event. UHV also launched the public phase of its UHV Here, We Go fundraising campaign.

The University of Houston-Victoria kicked off the public phase of a fundraising campaign with an $839,775 donation from the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation.

The UHV Here, We Go campaign launched its public phase Tuesday at the end of the university’s 2016-2017 President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards event. The campaign’s goal is to raise $12 million for the university by 2020. UHV has raised $7.4 million since the campaign’s quiet phase began in 2012.

“UHV’s Here, We Go campaign is an exciting opportunity for UHV alumni, community members and organizations to show their support for the university,” said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. “This is UHV’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign since the 1980s, and although the university has lots of needs, we also have a high level of community support.”

Here, We Go is a comprehensive campaign, which means every contribution to the university counts toward the goal, whether it be through the Giving Tuesday campaign, a one-time gift, a grant contribution or more, Pisors said.

The campaign is one of several happening as part of the UH System’s Here, We Go campaign. Each UH System university is hosting its own campaign, and the overall fundraising goal is $1 billion. Although the individual universities are raising money at the same time and tallying the amounts together, the money each university raises will stay at that institution, Pisors said.

“Every dollar given to UHV will stay at UHV,” Pisors said. “We want our supporters to know that anything they contribute will benefit their community university.”

UHV has three areas where contributions are most needed: scholarships, academic programs and athletics. Contributions to each of these areas can make a difference to students and the university, Pisors said.

The university needs more scholarship contributions to support students who rely on financial aid to pay for their degrees. In addition, the university is working to add academic programs, which require funding to hire new faculty members and purchase necessary equipment.

UHV’s athletic teams have done great things, but there are few facilities available on campus for student-athletes and competitions, Pisors said. Contributions to UHV athletics could help with anything from replacing worn-out equipment to building new facilities for training and competitions.

“UHV is making great strides forward every day, and contributions to scholarships, academic programs and athletics will help us continue that progress,” UHV President Vic Morgan said. “The Crossroads community has shown UHV overwhelming support since its founding, and I look forward to building connections with many others in the community through this campaign.”

The campaign will be guided by the Campaign Leadership Committee. The members are:

  • Mr. and Mrs. Ben and Diana Galvan
  • Mrs. Christine Hollinden
  • Mr. and Mrs. Claud and Mary Virginia Jacobs
  • Mr. and Mrs. Lane and Phyllis Keller
  • Mrs. Diane Kliem
  • Mr. and Mrs. Heber and Beth Lacerda
  • The Honorable Morgan Dunn O’Connor
  • The Honorable Thomas Michael and Mrs. LuAnn O’Connor
  • Dr. Don Smith
  • Mr. and Mrs. Troi and Kelley Taylor
  • The Honorable Roger and Mrs. Donna Welder
  • The Honorable Kay and Mr. Ron Walker
  • The Honorable Ben and Mrs. Jamie Zeller

The lead gift for the campaign is an $839,775 donation from the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation. The donation primarily is intended to purchase new lab equipment for health studies, pre-health and other science majors.

“The M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation has always been committed to advancing health and education,” said Robert Halepeska, executive vice president for the foundation. “We’ve also been committed to supporting the growth and development of our hometown university, UHV. The opportunity to help meet a need for laboratory equipment and scholarship support that will ultimately help our community have a better educated population in general and healthcare providers in particular was a good fit for the foundation. We are proud to be a part of UHV’s past, present and future.”

The donation will be especially useful as UHV prepares to begin construction of a new science, technology, engineering and mathematics building.

“This contribution will make a substantial difference in providing equipment for student lab spaces,” said Jeffrey Di Leo, dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. “This is an incredible gift, and I am excited to see how it will benefit our students.”

The Johnson Foundation has supported UHV for decades, especially the university’s health-related programs. In addition to purchasing lab equipment, the donation also will provide scholarships for nursing students and those in other health-related programs.

“The UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development offers several health-related programs from kinesiology to health professions and nursing,” said Fred Litton, dean of the school. “This donation will lead to some exciting developments and opportunities for our students. We are grateful for the Johnson Foundation’s continued support.”

To find out more about the UHV Here, We Go campaign, go to or contact Pisors at 361-570-4829 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.