UHV student graduates after decade of hard work, determination

When Melissa Bruton graduated from UHV this spring with a Bachelor of Business Administration in healthcare administration, it was an achievement more than a decade in the making.

Bruton started her journey at UHV in 2008, taking a professional writing and statistics course. However, attending the university was difficult while juggling finances, full-time employment and weekend jobs.

Melissa Bruton

“I was not so lucky as far as having parental support for school,” Bruton said. “I had to pay my way, and I did not earn much, so to pay for college seemed at times overwhelming and impossible.”

After her first two UHV courses, Bruton decided to change her plans by earning an associate degree at Wharton County Junior College and continuing upper-level classes in the future. She returned to UHV in 2016, taking two courses a semester online and at the UHV Katy instructional site.

Bruton has extensive professional experience in surgical technology education with credentials as both a licensed vocational nurse and a certified surgical technician. After 17 years working at Wharton County Junior College, Bruton began her current career as a program director at Houston Community College.

“Education is my passion, and helping others succeed in their dreams has been a blessing for me to witness,” Bruton said. “Having this degree is validation for me as an educator. The classes have all helped shape me into a better educator, prepared me to be a compassionate supervisor, and helped me to be successful as a program director and chair at HCC.”

Bruton credits UHV for its flexible payment plan which allowed her to progress at her own pace and graduate without debt. The university also provided her with state-of-the-art remote learning options, which came in handy during the 2020 school year.

“I took courses in Katy, and once COVID-19 hit, my classes were online,” Bruton said. “I felt very fortunate that UHV offered the courses I needed online.”

Bruton also credits her supervisor at HCC for supporting her in her educational goals.

“This accomplishment just shows hard work and determination can pay off in the long run if you do not give up,” she said. “As an educator, I have always told my students to stay in school and never stop learning. I try to live by example.”

Bruton plans to continue her journey with UHV in the fall to pursue a master’s degree.

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.

Victoria Hudgeons, Special to UHV