UHV alumni honorees serve Victoria

Feb. 10, 2018 at 10:30 p.m.

Tenna Thompson

Tenna Thompson   Contributed Photo for The Victoria Advocate

In the first decade of the University of Houston-Victoria, Tenna Thompson became a UHV alumna, and she has since then pursued her passion in education and community service.

"I enrolled at UHV during a pivotal point in my life," said Thompson, who earned a bachelor's degree in education with a specialty in reading. "Getting an education was always very important to me, and the accessibility plus the affordable, quality education offered was such a godsend at the time. I'm so grateful for the experience and the faculty members I had the pleasure of learning from."

Thompson will receive the 2018 Distinguished Alumna Award at the March 2 UHV Alumni Banquet. The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented to a UHV graduate whose accomplishments, character and service are exceptional and represent the ideals and values of his or her alma mater.

Victoria County Judge Ben Zeller will be recognized as the Young Alumnus of the Year. The Young Alumnus of the Year Award is presented to a UHV graduate who is younger than 40 and is distinctly accomplished professionally or in service to others.

The banquet, which is part of UHV Homecoming Week, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the UHV University North Multi-Purpose Room, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Alumni and their families and friends are encouraged to attend.

Festivities will include a beer and wine reception, a catered dinner with door prizes, a photo booth and more.

President Vic Morgan will give an update about the university, and Kira Mudd, UHV director of alumni relations and annual giving, will review alumni engagement in 2017 and plans for 2018.

"This will be the third year we've hosted the Alumni Banquet, and it's a really fun evening we look forward to providing for our alumni and their guests," Mudd said. "We're excited to reconnect with and celebrate our alumni at this festive event. This year, we are providing a coffee and dessert bar during an intermission between the event program and featured entertainment."

A show featuring comedian and magician Robby Bennett will be held after the banquet in the same room. Bennett describes himself as a master of the magical arts with comic wit.

Zeller is a magna cum laude graduate of UHV. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from UHV in 2005 and a Master of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M University-San Antonio in 2009. Since graduation, he has worked at Wells Fargo and TDECU and now is the Victoria County judge, serving as the county's chief executive officer and chief budgeter.

"One thing that is very special about Ben is that he is part of a family legacy of UHV alumni, which includes his father, who helped tremendously with our alumni efforts in the past," said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. "Ben is a capable leader who has balanced his political, professional and family leadership roles well while still giving his time to UHV."

Zeller said his UHV undergraduate degree helped prepare him to take on the role of Victoria County judge.

"A lot of the courses I took at UHV are very relevant to what I do now," Zeller said. "Classes like finance, communications, accounting and management are all vital parts of my day-to-day job. UHV is a tremendous asset to the Victoria community."

Zeller said the Alumni Banquet and UHV's Homecoming Week are exciting events.

"Homecoming is an effective way to bring alumni back to the university to celebrate their successes and remember their alma mater," he said. "Connecting current students, faculty and staff with alumni is nothing but positive for everyone involved."

Both Zeller and Thompson have served on numerous community organizations. Thompson has been an active member and advisor to boards of Junior League, CASA, Trinity Episcopal School, Theatre Victoria and Victoria Symphony. She is a volunteer in other community projects beneficial to the community like the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. She and her husband have hosted the UHV/American Book Review Reading Series receptions.

"We are extremely proud to count Tenna as a UHV alumna," Pisors said. "She has given back in ways that are both meaningful to her and beneficial to the university. We are grateful for her and her husband's support of our American Book Review Reading Series, athletics and the Here, We Go fundraising campaign efforts."

Thompson taught as a substitute teacher at Trinity Episcopal School off and on for 20 years. She is retired and gives her time and energy to community efforts, an investment group and a book club started by former UH System regent Dorothy Alcorn.

Thompson said the award means a lot to her.

"I am flattered to receive this award," Thompson said. "It is not something I ever imagined receiving, but it's a great feeling to know you are appreciated."

For more information about the Alumni Banquet, contact Mudd at 361-570-4869 or muddke@uhv.edu. The cost for the evening is $15 a person, which includes the banquet and comedy and magician show. To register, visit uhvconnect.org/events. The banquet is part of UHV's Homecoming Week, Feb. 26 to March 3. This year's theme is Lights, Camera, Jaxnation. A complete schedule of homecoming events can be found at uhv.edu/homecoming.


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