Advocate editorial board opinion: UHV loses great leader; community must step up

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Aug. 13, 2010 at 3:13 a.m.
Updated Aug. 14, 2010 at 3:14 a.m.

To many in the Crossroads, Tim Hudson came to symbolize the vision for what the University of Houston-Victoria could become.

Hudson, who became UHV president in 2004, championed the dream of creating a destination university. He saw and expressed eloquently the idea of expanding educational opportunities across Texas and enhancing the quality of life in the Crossroads for the next century.

During his tenure, Hudson accomplished more than any other president in UHV's history. These are just a few of the highlights:

Bringing the American Book Review to campus and creating a literary center and reading series that rivaled any found at a major university.

Creating Centro Victoria as a way to improve education for Latinos.

Bringing college athletics back to Victoria after an almost 50-year absence.

Of course, Hudson's biggest accomplishment was expanding UHV from an upper-level institution into a full-service university. The first freshmen and sophomores arrive later this month, bringing with them an excitement never before felt at UHV.

With the support of key community leaders, Hudson managed this even though the University of Houston System seemed lukewarm to any additional investment in the Victoria campus. Hudson pushed and prodded to turn the vision into reality, all the way doing a diplomatic pirouette that would be the envy of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

He also set the standard for community involvement, embracing the region in a way that should be a model for all leaders. He enthusiastically attended community events, helped in efforts to promote economic development and even wrote a song honoring 19 immigrants who died near Victoria.

All of this makes the system's transfer of Hudson particularly hard to take. Officially, he will be developing international programs and initiatives as assistant to the UH System chancellor. He certainly has the passion and expertise to handle this new assignment.

But Hudson's heart and talents clearly would be best served leading UHV's vision of creating a destination university. UH System leaders made a huge mistake in taking away a great leader at this critical time.

The community will be watching closely to see how UH corrects this mistake and proves its commitment to the Victoria campus. UH officials started this healing process by coming Friday to Victoria and outlining their plans for the campus. The community is right to be skeptical, however, and demand answers.

The community can best honor Hudson by fulfilling his vision. Other leaders must emerge to carry on.

Although Hudson led the way, this dream is bigger than one man.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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