Awards & Highlights
Each year, UHV honors an outstanding student who has demonstrated leadership on campus and in the community, and partners who have worked to expand the legacy of higher education in the community.
Numerous local, state and national organizations also recognize UHV students, alumni, faculty and staff for their achievements.
Here are some awards and highlights from 2018-2019:
UHV Special Recognition Awards
Student & Alumni Achievements
- Chad Hall (2004), general manager of Regional Steel Products Inc., was honored at the Leadership Excellence and Development 2018 conference awards with 11th place in the Top Corporate Leader Over 35 category out of 250 nominations. Regional Steel also received first in Best Use of Team-Building category and second in the Best Customer Service Leadership Training Program category for the company’s quality control program.
- Zion Walker and Jahdiel Evans received full-tuition scholarships from the Improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education in a Rural Area initiative.
- Christine Holinden (1985), founding principal of Hollinden | marketers + strategists, delivered the keynote address during the university’s 2018 fall commencement ceremony.
- Araceli Ramirez Garcia and Samantha Cortez received the top spot in a People’s Choice vote for their playground scale model projects made during their “Freshman Seminar: Math Satellite” course. The students also wrote a report about the math concepts involved in making the model.
- Former UHV soccer player Brian Foulger (2018) was named the 2018 Red River Athletic Conference recipient of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award.
- The family of Dorothy Alcorn (1986) donated her collection of 2,227 fiction and nonfiction books and a 1985 portrait of her to the university. Alcorn was the first UH System regent from the Victoria area to be appointed by the Texas governor.
- Melissa Torres won the first UHV President’s Holiday Card Contest for her graphic design and was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.
- Estrella Candia, Randall Jasek, Itzel Juarez and Jose Alvarez ranked 13th out of 31 teams in the International Collegiate Programming Contest at Texas State University.
- Ben Galvan (1994) was given the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award, and Michele Rohde (2006) was recognized as the Young Alumna of the Year during the UHV Alumni Banquet.
- Cesar Gonzalez and Sophia Solano were named UHV Homecoming king and queen.
- Former UHV softball player Marley Moehrig (2013, 2016) was hired as the head coach of the St. Joseph High School Lady Flyers softball team in Victoria.
- Patrick Guissou and Aarushi Kumar presented a research poster during Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Austin.
- Josie Rivera (1983, 1985, 1994) was featured on the Donor Recognition Display hanging in UHV University North.
- Maureen Tejeda from the Dominican Republic, Vladyslav Shapoval from Ukraine and Rehab Alhawsawi from Saudi Arabia came to UHV for a semester as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program. Amina Lnu of Pakistan came to UHV as part of the department’s exchange program in Pakistan.
- Ben Zeller (2005) delivered the keynote address during the university’s two spring 2019 commencement ceremonies.
- Shelbie Ayala was named the Student Volunteer of the Year during the annual UHV Student Organization and Leadership Banquet. Jaguar Esports, led by Randall Jasek, was named the Student Organization of the Year, and Makayla Hare, Keiundra Jones, Elizabeth Matula, Vladyslav Shapoval and Devin Taubert received the Spirit of the Jaguar award.
- Kimberly Fleener (2009), principal of Cuero Junior High School, was selected by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals as the 2019 Middle School Principal of the Year for Region 3.
- Marissa Cervantes and Jesse Gonzales earned a certification in all four areas of the UHV ROAR Certified Leader certification program, receiving the title of Distinguished ROAR Certified Leaders. Sophia Solano completed the communication and teamwork certifications.
- Justin Gabrysch (2011) was hired as the principal of Victoria East High School.
- Sumanpreet Phul, Zaure Russell, Bianca Sabido and Jinzhi Si were ranked three times in the weekly Top 100 of the eight-week Global Business Simulation competition. This was the first time a single UHV team earned three Top 100 rankings. In addition, Aliyu Abubakar, Indra Bhanu Gautam, Prasanth Kumar Kodali, Michelle Marie Thompson, Maitri Nareshbhai Acharya, Grace Adeyemi and Josue David Cisneros were on teams that ranked once in the weekly Top 100 of the competition.
- Former UHV baseball player Joshua Bromberg (2011) was hired as the head baseball coach for Clear Lake High School.
- Former UHV softball player Jena West (2013, 2015) was promoted to the deputy emergency management coordinator position in the Victoria Office of Emergency Management.
Faculty & Staff Achievements
- Ricardo Teixeira led a Math and Magic Club for fourth- and fifth-grade Dudley Elementary School students in Victoria to help them prepare for the University Interscholastic League mathematics competition.
- Barba Patton was awarded a $2,000 Learning & Leadership Grant from the NEA Foundation to help pay for travel to the 2019 Canadian International Conference on Education in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, to continue a project titled “Unraveling the Mystery of Teaching Math to Limited English Students.”
- Jay Lambert participated in NASPA Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education’s National Association of Supporting, Expanding and Recruiting Volunteer Excellence Academy, and served as director for the NASPA Region III/SACSA New Professional Institute. Michael Wilkinson served in a leadership role within the organization’s Region III, and Brandon Lee served on the Texas Association of College & University Student Personnel Administrators Board of Directors.
- Jeffrey Di Leo published his book, “The End of American Literature: Essays from the Late Age of Print.” He also worked with faculty at two other universities to edit a collection of essays for the book “The Debt Age.”
- Joseph Locke was awarded a $5,000 Open Educational Resources Grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to further his work developing high-quality, cost-free classroom resources. He also was given the Oscar O. Winther Award and $500 for his article, “The Heathen at Our Door: Missionaries, Moral Reformers, and the Making of the ‘Mexican Problem,’” published in the Western Historical Quarterly. In addition, he received the UHV Research & Scholarly Activity Excellence Award.
- Eunice Mesa was named UHV’s 2018 Employee of the Year.
- Mark Ward Sr. received the 2018 David R. Maines Narrative Research Award for his essay, “The Dangers of Getting What You Wished For: What Do You Say to Evangelicals?”
- Joe Ferguson used 49 T-shirts from his 42 years working at UHV to create a quilt that he eventually plans to donate to the university.
- Amjad Nusayr created a website to coordinate science, technology, engineering and mathematics events for high school and middle school students. The events included summer camps, after-school classes and UHV Math & Robotics Awareness Day.
- Marketing & Communications staff members worked on projects that earned the university six ADDY awards for advertising excellence from the American Advertising Federation-Corpus Christi chapter, including a Gold ADDY for a brochure about the university’s Here, We Go comprehensive fundraising campaign and a Silver ADDY for the 2017-2018 President’s Annual Report website. Members of the department who worked on the website were Paula Cobler (2018), Marci Wallace, Eric Chacon (2007), George Rodriguez, Ashley Strevel, Warren Diprose (2007), Felicity Medrano (2005), Kelsey Mills (2013), Enkeleta Dervishi (2016), Larzell Cowan, Aby Gonzalez, Mik Samaniego-Lira, Katie Wilson, Lauren Emerson, Aurora Robinson and JoAnna Montez. Samaniego-Lira designed the brochure that won the Gold ADDY. Silver ADDY awards also went to Rodriguez for the 2018 UHV Baseball Program cover and to Gonzalez, Cowan and Samaniego-Lira for three posters advertising the UHV/American Book Review Reading Series. Bronze ADDY awards were given to Wilson for her poster advertising the 2018 Martín De León Symposium on the Humanities and Medrano for her animation on the annual report website homepage.
- Liping Wei received the UHV Teaching Excellence Award.
- Joann Olson was given the UHV Distinguished Faculty Service Award.
- UHV Small Business Development Center client Sara Vela, owner of Vela Farms in Victoria, reached $1 million in sales in H-E-B grocery stores and was awarded an honorary belt buckle from the company. Vela was advised by Donald Jirkovsky.
- Hsin-Hui Lin, Barba Patton, Mary Lasater and Sheryl De La Garza were honored for their outstanding work in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development.
- Paul Ebner, Aby Gonzalez, George Rodriguez and Mik Samaniego-Lira were recognized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Sports Information Directors Association and the College Sports Information Directors Association for their work promoting UHV Athletics. Ebner and Gonzalez placed first in the NAIA Schedule Cards contest for a baseball schedule card design, while Ebner and Rodriguez placed second for a soccer schedule design. In the CoSIDA contest, Ebner and Samaniego-Lira placed third in the Special Events Program contest for a softball game day program.
- Diane Prince was honored with the title professor emeritus after a 45-year career at UHV.
- Michael Wiblishauser coordinated a Joint Admission Medical Program at UHV that was created by the Texas Legislature to promote admission to medical school for economically needy students.
- Joe Dahlstrom retired as senior director of the UHV Library after serving at the university for 31 years.
- Yvonne Garcia was named the UHV Student Organization Advisor of the Year for her work advising both the International Student Organization and the African Student Association. She received the award during the Student Organization and Leadership Banquet.
- Ken Colwell published his book, “Starting a Business QuickStart Guide: The Simplified Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Successful Small Business, Turning Your Vision Into Reality and Achieving Your Entrepreneurial Dream.”