Advocate editorial board opinion: UHV celebration serves as reminder of challenges ahead
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An empty feeling filled the University of Houston-Victoria's Annual Report banquet Thursday night.
Despite the remarkable accomplishments recounted, the buzz around the tables was about what was missing. Or, more precisely, who wasn't there.
Interim president Don Smith acknowledged the void with his gracious opening remarks. He said the credit for the great work of the previous year should go to former president Tim Hudson and his staff.
Smith rightly described the past year as a transformational one for UHV. Appropriately, the theme for the annual report was "A Year of Firsts." As each dean got up to speak, it became increasingly clear the evening should have been a tribute to Hudson's great leadership and the team he assembled. These are just a few of the milestones:
UHV's enrollment growth surpassed the state average, going up 12 percent to more than 4,000 students this fall.
Recruiters surpassed the goal of attracting the first 200 underclassmen, as more than 300 arrived this fall.
The School of Arts & Sciences started Centro Victoria, the first literary center in the United States dedicated to helping teachers incorporate works by Mexican-American authors into their lessons.
The School of Business Administration was named the No. 1 Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students by the Princeton Review.
The School of Education & Human Development received accreditation for master's of education degrees in both community and school counseling for the first time.
The School of Nursing received accreditation for the school's undergraduate and graduate programs on its first attempt.
UHV added its first soccer and golf teams to go along with the successful Jaguar baseball and softball programs.
These are only some of the many accomplishments during the 2009-10 school year that were celebrated at the banquet. Even so, the mood was decidedly more somber than in the event's previous years. Glaring by his absence was the energetic and visionary leader who made so many things happen on campus and in the community.
UHV accomplished much in the past year. For it to continue this momentum, community leaders will need to find a way to fill the vacuum left by Hudson's untimely departure.