After serving 12 years as president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Randy Vivian saw firsthand the impact Victoria College makes on the community and beyond.
“Without Victoria College, I could not do my job,” said Vivian, who left the chamber in October to accept a position with the Texas Division of Emergency Management in Austin. “We relied so much on VC to provide workforce development. Victoria College is vitally important to not only Victoria’s economic success, but also the economic success of our entire region.”
Victoria College has also played a big role personally for Vivian and his family. His wife, Cynthia, attended VC and is a financial specialist with the Victoria College Foundation. Their oldest daughter, Claire Klinkerman, attended VC en route to beginning a teaching career. Chloe, their youngest daughter, took dual-credit courses with Victoria College while attending Victoria East High School and is now a full-time student at VC.
“I enjoyed the atmosphere so much when I was a student here at Victoria College that I wanted to come back and work here,” Cynthia said.
Randy attended Victoria College in 1984-85 before transferring the University of Houston-Victoria, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
“I ran around with a group of fellow students at VC, and we had a great time,” Randy said. “We played football on the Quad. There were dances at the Student Union. The friendships that I made at Victoria College are still strong today.”
Cynthia obtained her associate degree from Bee County College (now Coastal Bend College) and worked at First Victoria National Bank while taking classes part time at Victoria College. In 2007, Cynthia went to school full time at VC and later transferred to UHV, where she acquired a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree.
“Victoria College was very affordable for me to continue my education and pursue my degree,” Cynthia said.
Claire obtained her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at UHV in 2016 and is a seventh- and eighth-grade math teacher at Howell Middle School. She completed 24 hours of dual-credit classes with Victoria College as a junior and senior at East High School and became a full-time student at VC in 2013 after graduating from East.
“Victoria College prepared me the most,” Claire said. “I learned study skills and figured out how to communicate with my professors. VC really made my transition to UHV very easy.”
Claire, who obtained a master’s degree from Texas A&M University-College Station in May, said her experiences at Victoria College inspired her to become a teacher.
“I worked in Victoria College’s Prefreshman Engineering Program (VC PREP), and I really enjoyed mentoring the students,” Claire said. “That’s when I decided to pursue a career in education.”
Chloe, a 2019 East High School graduate, said her adjustment from high school student to full-time college student at Victoria College has been seamless.
“I love the professors here so much,” Chloe said. “They work so well with the high school students. VC has such a comfortable and welcoming campus.”
Chloe, who plans to attend Victoria College for a year to complete her core classes, said VC is a logical option for high school graduates to continue their education.
“A lot of kids just want to get out of Victoria because they’ve been here their whole life,” said Chloe, who is considering a career in health care. “But a lot of my friends who took dual-credit classes at East are staying here at VC.”
Randy and Cynthia knew VC would provide their daughters the foundation they needed for their higher education pursuits.
“Victoria College provides that rigor that is necessary for college students to succeed,” Randy said. “College needs to be challenging. It needs to test you. And Victoria College does that.”
To prove his point, Randy likes to tell a story of another member of his family, nephew Collin Huber, who attended Victoria College before transferring to The University of Texas at Austin.
“He started to struggle in a couple of classes his first year at UT and went to see an academic adviser,” Randy said. “The adviser asked to see Collin’s transcript and saw he went to VC. The adviser told him, ‘Give it two weeks. You went to Victoria College. You’re going to do just fine.’ He went on to finish at UT with almost a 4.0 GPA.”
From a professional perspective, Randy said he expects Victoria College to continue making an impact on the Crossroads area through its education and training.
“What makes Victoria College so unique is its relationships with business and industry,” Randy said. “Caterpillar, for example, has almost 1,200 employees. I’d say a majority of the production line employees completed their training through a collaborative effort with VC. It is crucial to have relationships between education and industry. That’s why when we would go out and market this community, VC was a big part of our presentation.”