UHV president jumps into new job

Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:19 a.m.

While freshmen were moving into Jaguar Hall on Friday, down the street, the University of Houston-Victoria's leader was settling into his own nook of the campus.

Philip Castille, who officially became UHV's new president Wednesday, was on day two of the job he said was one of the best opportunities in the country.

He spoke about his commitment to the state's "Closing the Gap" initiative, intended to bridge discrepancies in Texas students' education. Victoria is ideally situated to do that, he said.

"We have the capacity to ensure that the current generation and next generation are provided for in terms of access to higher education," he said. "Texas is in a growth mode to provide an education ... and UH Victoria is a major piece of that process."

Castille said his first order of business is to acclimate himself with the university and its staff. But he's thinking well into UHV's future, a glimpse of which could be seen over at Jaguar Hall.

"Victoria, really, I think will emerge as a college town over the span of evolution of the university itself," he said. "The introduction of residence halls and the beginnings of campus life and campus activities will utterly change the identity of the institution."

While continuing to expand its on-campus reach, Castille said, as president, he will also focus on distance learning, or online classes, that the UH System has mastered over the years.

"The main challenge for UH Victoria and indeed the UH System is to continue to meet the needs of students in Fort Bend County and Harris County for higher education," he said. "With the development of the four-year campus in Victoria, I think that's a complementary process."

Castille said he envisions UHV becoming the residential go-to campus for the UH System. For students who want a traditional college experience with the University of Houston, Victoria could be the perfect choice, he said.

"There's no shortage of need, and I think developing as a residential campus will give us a special and important niche."

Castille moved to Victoria with his wife, Shannon, and his young son, Edward.



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