It's official: Governor signs bill to allow UHV to add underclassmen

The legislation to allow the University of Houston-Victoria to become a four-year university was signed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday, paving the way for the institution to add freshmen and sophomores in the fall of 2010.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to create a true destination university right here in Victoria,” UHV President Tim Hudson said. “We have had support from so many people to make this happen, and we will not let them down.”

On May 26, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 1056 after the same bill to allow UHV to admit underclassmen passed the House earlier.

UHV now will recruit its first 190 underclassmen for the fall semester of 2010. Students will be drawn from major metropolitan areas, including Houston, Austin and San Antonio, and from across the state.

Rep. Geanie Morrison, who sponsored HB 1056, said she was happy to see the bill go into effect.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the enactment of House Bill 1056,” she said. “With its passage, I believe that we have taken significant strides toward increasing accessibility for South Texas students, as well as students across the state.”

Sen. Glenn Hegar, who introduced identical companion bill SB 567 into the Senate, said he was pleased that UHV’s expansion will become a reality.

“As our state’s population grows, expanding educational opportunities for our students is critical,” he said. “The Victoria community deserves to have a growing and flourishing four-year university, and I was pleased to showcase both UHV’s proven track record of student success and the tremendous community support for this downward expansion to my fellow legislators this session.”

With UHV’s transformation into a four-year university, only three upper-level universities that admit juniors, seniors and graduate students are left in the country. UHV was founded in 1973 as an upper-level institution to allow community college students better access to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. About 25 such universities were created at the time, but nearly all of them have since become four-year institutions.

For more information about UHV, go to or call 361-573-0000 or 800-687-3738.

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UHV Expansion Timeline

2004 – New UHV President Tim Hudson starts research on the possibility of UHV becoming a four-year university. UHV is one of a few remaining upper-division universities in the U.S.

Sept. 6, 2006 – Wells Fargo Bank and the Victoria Economic Development Corp. collaborate with UHV to commission a report about the university’s economic impact on greater Victoria. Barton Smith of the University of Houston’s Institute for Regional Forecasting presents “The Prepared Mind” at a Victoria conference indicating that the university annually brings $150 million in total economic benefits to the local economy. Smith suggests that a destination university in Victoria could help overcome the region’s low educational attainment profile.    


September 2006 – UHV Chief of Staff Margaret Rice completes a comprehensive internal report on the pros and cons of UHV expanding.

January 2007 – Expanding to a four-year university emerges as a strategic initiative during the annual UHV President’s Cabinet retreat.

Fall 2007 to fall 2008 – The Victoria Advocate publishes numerous editorials and letters to the editor in support of UHV’s expansion.  Supporters include UHV faculty, staff and students, former UHS Regent Dorothy Alcorn, Victoria Economic Development Corp. President Dale Fowler, Lodestone Financial Services of Victoria partner Claud Jacobs, Victoria attorney John Griffin, Victoria dentist Buddy Lee and many others.

January 2008 – UHV students launch a Web site to share information, ideas and comments about a UHV expansion.

Winter 2008 – The UHV Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Student Senate survey their respective members and announce their support of the university expanding.

Feb. 1, 2008 – The Victoria Chamber of Commerce releases results from a survey of its members about their thoughts on UHV becoming a four-year university. The results show that 94 percent of those responding favor the expansion.

March 31, 2008 – Victoria County officials and private land owners commit up to 250 acres of land near the Victoria Regional Airport property for a possible new UHV campus.

April 15, 2008 – The UHV Expansion Steering Committee, chaired by Chief of Staff Margaret Rice, presents its report to President Tim Hudson.

Spring 2008 – The Victoria City Council and Victoria County Commissioners Court pass resolutions in support of the expansion. Other stakeholders supporting the expansion come forward and include the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, the Victoria Economic Development Corp., the Commission of the Port of Victoria and the Cuero-Victoria Connection leadership group.

Spring 2008 – Empirical Research Solutions Inc. releases the results of an online survey for UHV to provide insight into the enrollment potential of high school sophomores, juniors and seniors coming from Houston, San Antonio and Austin if UHV becomes a four-year institution.  Of those surveyed, 45 percent say they would seriously or very seriously consider sending their son or daughter to an expanded UHV.

July 2008 – UHV administrators submit a revised version of the UHV Expansion Steering Committee report to Renu Khator,  UHS chancellor and UH president.

August 2008 – The chairmen of the UHS Board of Regents and The Victoria College Board of Trustees put together the Commission on Expanding Access to Higher Education. The commission, formed to study the future of higher education in Victoria, is made up of representatives from UHS, UHV, VC, and local community and education leaders.

Sept. 17, 2008 – About 400 community members attend the Commission’s public forum with the overwhelming majority supporting UHV’s expansion.

Sept. 30, 2008 – The 17-member Commission unanimously votes to recommend that UHV expand to a four-year university. The commission is co-chaired by UHS Board of Regents Chairman Welcome Wilson and VC Board of Trustees President Ron Walker. Other members are Janey Lack, Mary Elizabeth Jimenez, Bland Proctor, Eric Murphy, Dennis Patillo, Jan Jacob, David McLarry, Bob Moore, Bill Blanchard, Michael Hummel, Dan Jaeckle, Jeff Bauknight, Jeff Lyon, Tim Hudson and Thomas Butler.

Oct. 10, 2008 – The UHS Board of Regents adopts a resolution authorizing UHV to seek enabling state legislation to add freshmen and sophomores.

Oct. 16, 2008 – The VC Board of Trustees votes to approve the Commission’s recommendation that UHV seek legislation to become a four-year university.

March 2009 – Texas Rep. Geanie Morrison introduces House Bill 1056, and state Sen. Glenn Hegar introduces Senate Bill 567. If passed, the identical bills will allow UHV to add freshmen and sophomores.

April 1, 2009 – Community leaders from Victoria testify in hearings in front of the Higher Education committees of the Texas Senate and House of Representatives in support of UHV’s expansion. Those who testify include Randy Vivian, president and CEO of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce; Hernan Jaso, UHV President’s Regional Advisory Board chair; Dale Fowler, Victoria Economic Development Corp. president; and Kristen Lindley, UHV Student Senate president.

April 8, 2009 – The Faculty and Student Downward Expansion Committee, chaired by faculty member David Summers from the School of Business Administration, presents its report at a UHV President’s Cabinet meeting. The report places emphasis on making the UHV undergraduate program a “wow” experience and competitive with other institutions.

April 22, 2009 – The Texas House of Representatives passes HB 1056 after the Senate previously passes a similar bill, SB 567.

May 26, 2009 – The Texas Senate passes HB 1056 because the same bill must pass both the House and the Senate. The bill is sent to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature.

June 19, 2009 – Gov. Rick Perry signs HB 1056, allowing UHV to add 190 underclassmen in the fall semester of 2010.

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