Whenever Gary and Suzanne Foertsch traveled, they could depend on University of Houston-Victoria President Vic Morgan to water their plants.

“It’s kind of sad,” Suzanne Foertsch said. “He’s done wonderful things for the university.”

The Victoria couple was among more than 60 community members, university staff, political figures, family and friends who honored Morgan, who will retire this month, during a farewell party that celebrated him and former University of Houston System regent Roger Welder, of Victoria.

Throughout the night, Morgan received gifts, resolutions in his honor, and a university class ring.

The couple have been Morgan’s neighbors since he arrived in Victoria. They also know him through his work with the Lion’s Club, they said.

“He is a very giving person,” Suzanne Foertsch said.

A photo slideshow ran through images of Morgan as guests shared laughs and reminisced about his time at the university. Morgan became the university’s interim president in 2014 and was appointed president in 2016.

A university employee who has served Morgan since he arrived was administrative assistant Kathy Walton.

“He was the best boss I ever had,” Walton said. “He’s the type of person who’s easy to work with.”

Not only was Morgan a benefit to the university, she said, but also to the Victoria community.

“He brought the faculty, community and UHV together,” she said. “He got us working as a unit.”

Walton recalled how she tried to talk Morgan’s wife, Mary Jane, into allowing him to stay at the university.

“He’s ready to go, so I guess we’ll have to let him go,” she said.

Renu Khator, chancellor of the University of Houston System and president of the University of Houston, said Morgan is a good friend and was good for the university system as a whole.

Morgan is like a rock, she said. “He is a solid person.”

David Cockrum, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, knew Morgan from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, where he became the first faculty member to become president.

Morgan grew up in Bangs and enjoyed model airplanes. When he graduated, he got a job at a car parts store.

It was not until someone told Morgan to go to college that he went, discovered math and planned to become a math teacher.

After he earned his master’s, Morgan became a Bible salesman in North Carolina.

Cockrum said he could go on forever about his times with Morgan.

“He was a natural president,” Cockrum said.

Morgan said seeing the faces of graduates as he handed out diplomas are the memories he will never forget.

“It’s been a delightful experience,” Morgan said.

Gabriella Canales reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at gcanales@vicad.com or 361-580-6578.

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Education reporter

Gabriella Canales graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a B.A. in English in 2016. Feel free to contact her with ideas because she is eager to tell stories.

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