Change at top of UHV not a major concern for local expansion supporters

Sonny Long

Aug. 6, 2010 at 3:06 a.m.

NAS_PHOTO_WORKING/012510/MORRISON_GEANIE_012910MorrisonTo run with Chamber story. Mug is in Common Mugs.

NAS_PHOTO_WORKING/012510/MORRISON_GEANIE_012910MorrisonTo run with Chamber story. Mug is in Common Mugs.

Local officials agree that Tim Hudson has done a good job as president of the University of Houston-Victoria, but they don't think the change in leadership will affect the school's successful transition to a four-year university.

State Rep. Geanie Morrison is disappointed that Hudson is leaving, but has been assured that his departure will not affect the growth of the university.

Morrison, who has worked on higher education issues in the Texas Legislature for more than a decade and formed the Crossroads Commission on Higher Education, spoke with University of Houston System chancellor Renu Khator on Friday morning.

"She assured me that they will work whole heartedly for the success of the downward expansion of UHV," Morrison said. "They are committed to continue the hard work that's been done in Victoria."

Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong hopes a change in leadership doesn't mean a change in the progress made at UHV.

"I think the University of Houston-Victoria has a big investment here in Victoria. I can't imagine they will abandon their investment," said the mayor.

Victoria Chamber of Commerce president Randy Vivian said the community itself will need to help continue the school's growth.

"It's our job now as a community to step into this void and help in the interim," he said. "The community, as well as the university, has a lot to do with the success of this freshman class."

Job well done

Morrison, who is attending a conference on higher education in San Diego, also said she is excited for Hudson and his new endeavor.

"He has done such a great job in Victoria," Morrison said. "He has been a driving force behind the downward expansion and new programs at the university. I wish he could stay."

"It will be sad to not see him heading up UHV, but at the same time this is a great opportunity for him," she said.

Hudson has been named special assistant to the chancellor for international programs and initiatives.

Claud Jacobs, who serves on the Crossroads commission, agreed that Hudson has done a good job, but finds the timing of the job change curious.

"He's done a phenomenal. job. We will miss him," Jacobs said. "This just comes at a unique time as the first class of underclassmen are coming in."

"It seems a little strange in the timing, but universities have their own reasons and plans," he said. "My concern is we have a very doable four-year university in Victoria."

Vivian also praised Hudson.

"I am sad to see him go," Vivian said. "He has been a phenomenal asset to the university. I understand this is a great opportunity to do something he has a great passion for."

Another suitor?

The change at the top at UHV has again sparked discussion of a different university system showing an interest in Victoria if the University of Houston system doesn't develop the UHV physical campus to accommodate the projected growth.

"I know there have been a lot of rumors the last few years. Some have been around a long time" Morrison said. "I am committed to making sure Victoria has a high-quality four-year university."

"I am also committed to working through the process with UHV," she said.

Armstrong said he would like to see the University of Houston's plan for Victoria before commenting on other schools coming into town.

"We haven't seen that plan yet here in Victoria and had it explained," said the mayor. "I think I would feel more comfortable after we have University of Houston officials come to Victoria and go over the process with us. I'm looking forward to meeting here in Victoria with their officials."

Staying in Victoria

Both Morrison and Vivian are pleased that Hudson will continue to live in Victoria.

"I am pleased to know that he and his family will remain in Victoria, and I am confident that they will remain active in our community as he assumes his new position," Morrison said.

Vivian echoed those sentiments.

"He'll be sorely missed as the college president, but at least we're not losing him in the community," said Vivian.



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