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UHV committee begins work to separate university from Fort Bend County

By Carolina Astrain
May 31, 2014 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 1, 2014 at 1:01 a.m.

A group formed to help turn the University of Houston-Victoria into a destination university is trying to work out how to get there.

To begin the process, the UHV Work Group committee, made up of university officials, professors and Victoria leaders, conducted two orientation meetings last week.

"It was very preliminary," state Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, said of the first meeting. "They discussed the charter of the group and goals."

The work group was assembled by Charles Alcorn, who was appointed chairman by the University of Houston System.

Alcorn said the group discussed reviewing strategic plans formed by other universities, including Texas A&M International University and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, to come up with an updated plan for UHV.

The need for an updated strategic plan arose after UH System Board of Regents approved the removal of UHV programs in Fort Bend County and absorption of the UHV School of Nursing at the University of Houston Sugar Land campus earlier this year.

Bill Blanchard, CEO of DeTar Healthcare System in Victoria and member of the UHV Work Group, showed concern about the downsizing of UHV's School of Nursing program and spoke against the system's actions.

Blanchard said he hopes the committee will be able to come up with solutions.

Blanchard spoke to the Advocate as an individual, not as a representative of the work group.

"The agenda still needs to be expanded in scope," Blanchard said. "We're in the process of setting everything up. There's a lot of work to be done."

Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi, who also criticized the UH System for not informing any elected officials from Victoria County about the changes before approval, said he was optimistic about the work group but remained somewhat skeptical.

"I'm trying to keep an open mind," Pozzi said. "I'm always mindful of the past, but I would hope we are ready to move forward regardless."

Additional meetings have not been scheduled, Alcorn said.

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