During the past few years,
Jan. 11, 2011 at 5:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 10, 2011 at 7:11 p.m.
During the past few years, the Golden Crescent Region has been inundated with educational success and community progress, based on the continuous advancement of the University of Houston-Victoria. This advancement can be attributed to the tremendous leadership furnished by UHV former President Tim Hudson and his faculty. The UHV has paved the way for many students who were on the verge of going elsewhere for their education.
I am immensely appreciative of this great educator/president for his attitude, his leadership abilities and his great concern for ALL students, especially for what he has done for Hispanic students. As a member and former president of the President's Regional Advisory Board, I can attest to the many goals that he has attempted and reached. When Hispanic students were at an all-time high dropout rate, he met the challenge and used the Let Education Achieve Dreams Program to reach out to Hispanics and minority students who were not achieving their best. Over the years that Hudson has been in Victoria, his leadership qualities advanced the UHV status to a world-known and world-class university. I personally feel that as I stated to the Texas House and Senate, "You give us the status of being a four-year university, and we'll make sure that it gets filled with students." I know that this is a great opportunity for Hispanic and minority students because it all goes down to finances.
Now that Hudson has taken us to a room of opportunity, we are shortchanged by his departure. My vision and opinion is that UHV can succeed in its quest for opportunity and greatness only by "dancing with the one that brung ya." UHV has failed at that point to complete the cycle of production as it was intended. I know there is nothing that can be done to correct this, but I do want the University of Houston System to know that what occurred with Hudson was wrong. It happened at the height of a valuable transition point and at the most important point of the success of UHV. This is not to say that UHV will not succeed, but it will go through some difficult times getting there.
Hudson had the education world in the palm of his hand. While it probably differed from the masterful thoughts of the System hierarchy, it was masterful in itself. But we are still without the greatest educational leader that has ever hit the Victoria region. I personally feel that his contributions have been extremely responsible for so many Hispanic students deciding to come to UHV.
It is imperative that the UH System understand that the educational needs of the future are not only located in the Harris County area, but also in a new explosion of these needs maturing in other smaller areas around it. They must remove the blinders that make them run hard in the Harris County direction only. While a majority of students and faculty members hail from Ft. Bend and Harris counties, the results of downward expansion in Victoria has gone unnoticed by the UH System. To imagine that one can continue to grow at the current location is backward thinking.
In order to grow alongside a strong athletic program, a stronger educational enrollment factor and a strong community involvement, we must think forward and produce visions of future accommodations. UHV had 412 Hispanics enrolled in 2005 and that number increased to 642 in 2009. With the leadership of Hudson and the right group of faculty, the Hispanic student has emerged as the sleeping giant. They are finishing school with business oriented and productive degrees.
So what is the point of my letter? It's the fact that the principle leader of our advancement team has been relieved of his duties for an international position that I think he doesn't want. While he has accepted the position, what else could he do? I strongly feel that we have been wronged, but I also accept whatever the UH System has decided to do.
The UH System must include its university campuses in their decisions and give some indicative reasons for making such decisions, or let Victoria move to another system that will support them. We are all together in this field, not only Harris County.
We must all survive together.
Finally, I want to credit Hudson with having allowed me to be a board president of his advisory team for two unprecedented terms.
I have seen accomplishments under his leadership that I had not seen before.
I saw students, faculty and community leaders exert a smiling face while under the leadership of Hudson.
He was a master at his job and will someday make some lucky university system a brilliant chancellor.
With his international programs experience and his gift of quality, he can be a great opportunity for a deserving system that awaits its first endeavor.
Hernan E. Jaso is a current memeber and former president of the Presidents Regional Advisory Board.