Jose Cantu

Jose Cantu

University of Houston-Victoria has hired a 25-year veteran of higher education in Texas to be its new vice president for enrollment management.

Jose Cantu, vice president for strategic partnerships at New Reach Media, a San Antonio marketing firm that works with small colleges across the nation to increase student enrollment, said he looks forward to starting his new position in early September. He previously worked in admissions, recruitment and enrollment at Schreiner University in Kerrville, UH-Downtown and UH.

“UHV has so many advantages because there are a lot of students looking for a public university where they can get personalized attention at an affordable price,” Cantu said. “It also has the advantage of being located in Victoria, a town that is supportive of its university.”

The vice president for enrollment management serves as the chief enrollment management officer for the university. That position also oversees the directors of admissions and student recruitment and financial aid and the senior director of enrollment management and external affairs at the University of Houston-Victoria at Katy instructional site.

In his new job, Cantu also will be on the President’s Cabinet and the university’s Executive Committee.

Cantu grew up in Port Isabel in the Rio Grande Valley and was the first in his family to graduate from college. He earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems technology and a master’s degree in training and development, both from UH. He then graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio with a doctorate in leadership studies.

“I’m passionate about helping first-generation college students since I was one myself,” he said. “They face a lot of trials and tribulations going to college, and I want to help them succeed.”

Cantu started his career serving in several positions at UH, including counselor, coordinator and assistant director of freshman admissions. In 2001, he helped create the UH Transfer Center and was named associate director of admissions for the center. He served in that role for six years.

In 2006, he became director of admissions and recruitment at UHD, where he led a team of 30 full-time and 25 part-time employees and directed strategies for enrolling and retaining students until 2012.

He then became associate vice president for enrollment services at Schreiner University and was promoted to vice president for enrollment services in 2014. From 2012 until he joined New Reach Media in 2018, Cantu said total student enrollment at Schreiner grew 30 percent, and in 2016, Schreiner was named the fastest-growing private university in Texas.

“Dr. Cantu comes to UHV with years of higher education experience in strategic enrollment management,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “He has successfully increased enrollment at every university where he has worked, and I know he is ready to roll up his sleeves and help UHV continue to grow and thrive.”

Cantu’s honors include receiving the Schreiner University Outstanding Leadership Award in 2013 and 2014.

He and his wife, Theresa, have been married for 18 years and have two children, Zachary, 15, and Emilie, 13.

“My first few weeks are going to be getting acquainted with the UHV team and the community and seeing if there is any support needed with the current process,” Cantu said. “I want to support and strengthen what is already being done.”

The national search for a UHV vice president for enrollment management resulted in four finalists who came to the university in mid-August. The finalists each took part in an open forum for faculty, staff, students and community members. An online survey after the open forums allowed attendees to share their input about the finalists with Glenn.

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