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Donors give more than $63,000 to help UHV students

The University of Houston-Victoria is experiencing an outpouring of support for its students during the COVID-19 pandemic as donors have provided $63,195 to two funds, including some matching funds.

Donations from 182 UHV faculty, staff, alumni and community members have been made to the Student Emergency Fund and the School of Business Administration Student Assistance Fund to help students who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Bob Glenn

The UHV Student Emergency Fund helps cover students’ unforeseen emergency expenses that could cause them to drop out. Students must apply for assistance, and most grants are for $300. To apply for the fund, students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours and have an emergency need that could result in leaving school or delaying degree completion.

“The Student Emergency Fund is an important tool that has helped so many of our students during this international crisis,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “UHV is dedicated to helping our students reach for success through higher education, and we are grateful to see our community, employees and alumni share that commitment.”

Since the university began soliciting donations in late March for the fund, UHV has received 196 gifts from 182 donors. The average gift size was $210, and donations ranged from $15 to $2,500.

Jessie Pisors

“We have been amazed by the widespread giving in response to this need,” said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. “More gifts are coming in every day. It’s wonderful to see so much compassion from our employees, alumni and community.” 

The fund is similar to the UHV Relief Fund that started in 2017 immediately after Hurricane Harvey. While the Relief Fund was created specifically to help students impacted by Harvey, the Student Emergency Fund was set up in 2019 to help students who had other emergencies that impacted their ability to continue at UHV.

However, the response to the Student Emergency Fund has been much more widespread than the Hurricane Harvey donations, Pisors said. The growth in the UHV donor base over the past two years is reflected in the greater number and wider diversity of donors who have given in response to the economic hardships our students are experiencing due to the pandemic. About 75 percent of the donations to the fund were given online at www.uhvconnect.org/donations with gifts from alumni and friends from across the nation and around the world, including Baghdad, Iraq and Bogota, Colombia.

The UHV School of Business Administration Student Assistance Fund started when the school’s senior faculty members chose to donate at least 5 percent of their May paychecks to help business students during the pandemic. Since then, the fund has received donations from the school’s faculty, staff and alumni, and has provided 77 $300 grants to students in need.

Candice Melzow

“The business school has a tradition of community involvement and supporting its students,” said Ken Colwell, dean of the school. “When we began accepting applications for the funds, so many of our students shared heartbreaking accounts of how this pandemic is affecting them. We are glad to offer any assistance we can to help them get through this time and continue their studies.”

UHV alumna Candice Melzow was one of 27 donors who recently gave to the Student Emergency Fund and had never donated to UHV before. Melzow is an English instructor at Blinn College in Bryan, and she’s seen how the shuttering of campuses and businesses has impacted her own students. When she and her husband, Billy, who also graduated from UHV, received emails and mailers asking for donations to the Student Emergency Fund, they decided this was the time to help students at their alma mater.

“UHV is an amazing school because it gives opportunities for students who wouldn’t consider college otherwise,” Melzow said. “Billy and I both have benefited from UHV’s emphasis on preparing students to reach success, so we chose to support other students who are on the same journey as we were.”

Now, as UHV continues to offer summer courses online and considers when to reopen campus, Melzow wants students to remember that they are not alone.

“I hope that our gift made a difference to a student,” she said. “This is a rough time, but I hope they keep their goals in sight. They’ve got to keep moving forward toward earning that degree. It will be worth it in the end.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973, 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, 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.