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 higher education in the region.

Numerous local, state and national organizations also recognize UHV students, alumni, faculty and staff for their achievements.

Here are some awards and highlights from 2019-2020:

UHV Special Recognition Awards

Cesar Gonzalez – Student Leadership Award
Lane and Phyllis Keller – Community Partnership Award
Robin Cadle – People Who Make A Difference Award

Student & Alumni Achievements

Maria Santibanez won the second annual UHV President’s Holiday Card Contest for her drawing of a jaguar wearing a Santa hat and was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship.

Ben Galvan (1994) and Tina Herrington (1990, 1993, 2001) were named to the UHV President’s Regional Advisory Board.

Biology students Katie Timmins, Tyler Muschalek, Jessica Fischer, Melissa Dean, Elvis Egwu and Elijah Osasenaga presented research at the Capital of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference in Austin.

Olufunmilayo Oguntoyinbo received a grant to attend the Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, an international conference in San Diego focused on cybersecurity.

Uche Ehiemua (2019) was accepted into the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine.

Jennifer Fucik, Patrick Zapien and Dyllan Witte Pratt were each awarded one-year memberships into the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Robert Schiener (2019) became the first graduate of UHV’s Specialist in School Psychology degree program to receive a Nationally Certified School Psychologist credential from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Barbara Alaniz and Breezalynn Becker each received the Mathematic Pre-Service Teacher Scholarship from the Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Terry Harryman was hired as a clinical laboratory extraction technician at Sparrow Health Care, a biotechnology lab in Houston serving as a COVID-19 testing site.

JoAnn Benavente got a position as a clerk intern during a summer internship at a New York City federal district court.

Adrian Chavana Jr. was accepted into the Disney College Program at Disney World in Orlando.

Liza Lybolt (2015, 2017) and Zhen Yan (2020) were accepted into doctoral programs. Lybolt got into the Doctor of Philosophy in International Business Administration with a concentration in management program at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. Yan was accepted into the doctorate in strategic management program at Texas Tech University.

Danielle Charles was accepted into the prestigious University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop program to study for a Master of Fine Arts.

Diane Kliem (1992), a Victoria attorney and president of Kliem & Associates, was named the American Business Woman, the top spot in the 2020 Top 10 Business Women of the American Business Women’s Association.

Alma Gutierrez was named the Student Volunteer of the Year during a video announcement of the annual UHV Student Organization and Leadership awards. The Walkie Talkie Journalist group, led by Sydney Fitch, was named the UHV Student Organization of the Year. Claudialicia Walker, Alexis Arceneaux, Savannah Malone-Eades and Sarah Stanaland were recognized with the Spirit of the Jaguar Award. Noemi Bustamante was honored with an “I Am UHV” $1,000 scholarship, and Preetha Philip received an “I Am UHV” $500 scholarship.

Svetlana LaFleur, Alex Mouton and Shelly Pesak were in a team that ranked four times in the weekly top 100 of the eight-week Global Business Simulation competition involving college and university business students competing in a simulation of the global economy.  

Noemi Bustamante, Terry Harryman, Katie Timmins and Crystal Salinas (2019) attended the Fall 2019 Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Texas at Austin. Bustamante, Harryman and Timmins each presented biology research at the symposium, and Salinas served as a session judge.

David and Tammy Murphy (1994 and 1995 respectively), owners and operators of Victoria’s Chick-fil-A restaurants, and Chad Hall (2004), general manager of Regional Steel Products Inc., were keynote speakers in the UHV Alumni Networking Luncheon series.

Natika Johnson and Claudia Calero presented research at the Texas Counseling Association’s Professional Growth Conference.

Jessica Helms (2008), a nurse practitioner at DeTar Medical Group in Victoria, was named the COVID-19 response coordinator for the UHV COVID-19 Operations Center. 

Faculty & Staff Achievements

Hongyu Guo’s book, “Modern Mathematics and Applications in Computer Graphics and Vision,” was ranked fourth on the Book Authority’s 22 Best Computer Graphics Mathematics Books of All Time list and 25th on its 73 Best Computer Vision Books of All Time list. The lists were featured on major media networks and publications, including CNN, Forbes and Inc.

Joseph Ben-Ur was honored with the title professor emeritus after a 23-year career in the UHV School of Business Administration.

Jill Fox was named a member of the Arts Education Task Force of the Texas Cultural Trust, a nonprofit organization with a mission of being the leading voice for the arts in education, advocacy and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of the state.

Jeffrey Di Leo wrote the book “Vinyl Theory” about the intersection of vinyl records, philosophy and critical theory.

Ken Colwell’s 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,” was ranked at the top of several Amazon Best Seller lists, including No. 1 on the Distribution & Warehouse Management list, No. 2 on the Business Fashion & Image list and No. 3 on the Outsourcing list.

Janelle Bouknight, Summer Pannell, Katherine Bacon and Ana Laura Pineda were honored for their outstanding work in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development.

Leonard Buckner was named the UHV 2019 Employee of the Year.

Paul Carlson was recognized for 45 years of service in the UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development.

The UHV chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, led by chapter president Dmitri Sobolev, achieved 2019-2020 Circle of Excellence Gold status for its work promoting excellence at UHV.

Abran Rodriguez, Katherine Bacon and Sneha Nayar hosted a free, public livestream session on Facebook about strategies to cope with anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark Ward Sr. was awarded Article of the Year from the Religious Communication Association for his article, “A New Kind of Church: The Religious Media Conglomerate as a ‘Denomination.’” He also received the Article of the Year award in spiritual communication from the National Communication Association’s Spiritual Communication Division for his article, “‘Head Knowledge Isn’t Enough’: Bible Visualization and Congregational Culture in the Evangelical Church.” In addition, he was selected winner of the 2020 Digital Religion Research Award from the Network for New Media, Religion and Digital Culture Studies for his research and article, “Digital Religion and Media Economics: Concentration and Convergence in the Electronic Church.”

Chien-Ping Chen received the UHV Teaching Excellence Award.

Massomeh Hajilee was given the UHV Research and Scholarly Activity Excellence Award.

Jeffrey Blodgett was the recipient of the UHV Distinguished Faculty Service Award.

Laura Mammina published her book “American Discord: The Republic and Its People in the Civil Era.”

Woodrow Wagner spoke at a meeting of the Victoria Professional Express Network, the local chapter of the American Business Women’s Association.

Management professors Chun-Shen Yu and June Lu each have been cited in more than 5,000 journal articles, according to Google Scholar. 

Olga Chapa was the lead researcher in a project focused on how to reduce the amount of stress experienced in the workplace.