UHV Student Senate president to skip graduation for softball championship

Kristen Lindley, University of Houston-Victoria Student Senate President and co-captain of the UHV Jaguars softball team, will miss Saturday’s graduation ceremony in order to play in the 2009 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Softball National Championship.

University of Houston-Victoria Student Senate President Kristen Lindley was almost hoping she wouldn’t be able to attend her graduation ceremony on Saturday.

She knew that if she missed the ceremony, it would be because the UHV Jaguars had made it to the 2009 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Softball National Championship scheduled today through May 20 in Decatur, Ala. Her wish came true.

“Any slight disappointment that I feel about not attending commencement and making a speech as Student Senate president is overtaken by the fact that we’re at nationals,” said Lindley, who will graduate magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration.

The past two weeks have been exciting for Lindley as the Jaguars were crowned the NAIA Association of Independent Institutions softball champions on May 2, and Lindley was named the A.I.I. Player of the Year and a member of the 2009 A.I.I. All-Star Team on Friday.

“We’re just on such a roll right now, I don’t see anybody beating us,” said Lindley, a 22-year-old pitcher and designated player for the Jaguars.

Lindley, whose hometown is Spring, Texas, hadn’t even heard of UHV just a couple of years ago when she was a softball player at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. She ran into her friend Lauren Garza at a baseball game in Houston, and Garza told her she was coming to UHV as a pitcher for the new Jaguars softball team.

Lindley did some research about UHV and decided it would be a good fit for her. She hasn’t looked back since she came to the university in the fall of 2007 and started getting involved in activities.

“I’ve gotten so involved because, honestly, I’m kind of a nerd,” Lindley said. “I like to do productive things. I’ve always been involved in school activities and was more interested in what meetings I could go to instead of what parties I could go to.”

During her first year at UHV, Lindley was co-captain of the softball team, became involved with the UHV Student Senate as the undergraduate representative from the School of Business Administration and mentored Victoria middle school students in math.

Between those activities, Lindley was named to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association NAIA Southwest All-Region First Team and the NAIA All-Region VI First Team.

The NFCA also recognized her as an All-American Scholar-Athlete for achieving a 3.5 grade-point average or better for the school year.

Lindley became even more involved at UHV during the 2008-2009 school year after being voted Student Senate president. In addition, she was a member of the Gamma Beta Phi honor society and the UHV President’s Climate Control Committee. For her exemplary leadership and initiative on behalf of the university, she received the Student Leadership Award in November.

“I know that Kristen had a grueling schedule this school year, but she made it all look easy,” said Janet Foerster, Student Senate co-sponsor and a UHV student services generalist. “She has demonstrated such leadership skills and was totally committed to every project sponsored by the Student Senate.”

Under Lindley’s leadership, the Student Senate has made volunteering a priority. The Senate sponsored the UHV Giving Tree at Christmas, and items donated benefited Adopt-A-Pet, Crossroads Youth and Family Services, and Mid-Coast Family Services. Senate members also agreed to donate items to the Giving Tree rather than giving holiday gifts to each other.

The Senate also coordinated New Student Orientation in the fall and the first Student Organization Day on March 19. The community event featured food, games and music provided by different UHV student organizations.

“It’s been a very fun year,” Lindley said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, but it’s been a lot of work.”

But Lindley won’t slow down after nationals because she’ll work as an intern this summer at Grant Thornton, an accounting firm in Houston. Then she’ll start classes in UHV’s Master of Business Administration program in the fall and work part time in the university’s Administration and Finance Office. She needs to take six more hours of accounting classes and an ethics course before she can sit for her Certified Public Accounting exam.

She’s also hoping to be appointed by Gov. Rick Perry as the student regent on the UH System Board of Regents.

“I talked to the current student regent, and she got me excited,” Lindley said. “I’d be proud to represent students from the four University of Houston System campuses.”

Lindley’s friends are impressed with her dedication to everything she does both on and off the softball field and know that graduation is just the beginning.

“She puts so much effort into everything she does,” said teammate Lindsey Ferguson, who plays first base for the Jaguars and also will miss Saturday’s graduation. “She is not only an outstanding person on the field and in the classroom; she’s an outstanding person in general.”

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