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Community leaders celebrate 'A Year of Firsts' at UHV

Nov. 13, 2010 at 5:13 a.m.

Janey Lack, left, vice president of marketing and advertising for Lacks Stores Inc., accepts the Community Partnership Award from University of Houston-Victoria Interim President Don Smith at the UHV Annual Report & Excellence Awards event.

A Victoria businesswoman who was instrumental in the University of Houston-Victoria's expansion, two business leaders who are UHV alumni and a student involved in campus and community activities received awards from the university Thursday night.

The special recognition awards were handed out as part of the 2009-10 UHV Annual Report & Excellence Awards event, which attracted more than 175 area leaders to the university. The theme of the annual report was "A Year of Firsts."

"We chose this theme because of all the exciting 'firsts' that occurred at UHV throughout the year," UHV Interim President Don Smith said. "We successfully recruited our first freshmen and sophomores. We purchased and began renovating our first residence hall for students. We announced our first golf and soccer coaches - and these were just a few of our firsts."

Smith, who became UHV's interim president in August, also gave credit during the evening to former UHV President Tim Hudson's work and others who contributed to the university's "firsts" and accomplishments of the past year.

Speakers, including Smith, talked about the university's achievements during the year.

Chari Norgard, UHV's associate vice president for Student Success and Enrollment Management, announced that the university had already received 316 freshman applicants for fall 2011 and had accepted 23 freshmen students.

The Community Partnership Award was presented to Janey Lack, vice president of marketing and advertising for Lacks Stores Inc. UHV alumni David and Tammy Murphy, who run a Victoria Chick-fil-A franchise, were presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Student Leadership Award went to Courtney Pettit, an education major who is captain of the Jaguars softball team and a senator at-large on the UHV Student Senate.

Lack played a key role in the university's successful year. In 2008, when the UH Board of Regents began to consider expanding UHV to a four-year university, Lack worked to secure $100,000 in pledges from community supporters and had commitments for that amount within one week.

"I am so proud of the University of Houston-Victoria and its excellence, which made all of this worthwhile," Lack said after the event.

Lack currently serves as a committee chair on the Crossroads Commission on Education, a group led by state Rep. Geanie Morrison that is made up of community leaders who seek to improve education on all levels. Lack was a member of the Victoria City Council for seven years and was on the board of directors for Citizens Medical Center.

The Murphys have bachelor of business administration degrees from UHV. David began his business career at Lacks Stores Inc. and then became owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A in San Antonio. In 2009, he was selected as the owner/operator of the Chick-fil-A franchise on Navarro Street in Victoria.

Tammy opened the Ice Cream Depot in the Victoria Mall as an independent entrepreneur. She is the unit marketing director for the Chick-fil-A store.

"I know our success can be attributed to the education we had at this university," David said during the event.

Pettit said coming to UHV has been a good opportunity for her. Last season, the Jaguars first baseman was selected to the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Southwest Regional first team and the Association of Independent Institutions All-Conference Team.

"I try to be a leader on and off the field, and it's such an honor to be recognized for it," she said after the event.



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