For Adriana Razo, her years as an undergraduate at the University of Houston-Victoria were bookmarked by Hurricane Harvey and the pandemic, but it was the time between those events that brought her the knowledge, experience and friends for life that she celebrated during the April 23 Jaguar Ring Celebration.

“I met all of my best friends, and some of the best professors I could ever have here at UHV,” said Razo, an Austin native. “I was so excited to come back here for the celebration. It’s such a special time for me and my family.”

The Jaguar Ring Celebration recognized more than 60 ring recipients in a come-and-go event at UHV University Commons. UHV students graduating with their bachelor’s or master’s degrees had the opportunity to attend one of the few in-person events offered this year at UHV.

The celebration included photo opportunities with celebratory signs, UHV mascot jaX and the ring box that held the class rings after it was blessed by jaX, UHV’s real-life jaguar mascot at the Texas Zoo. Students also got to dunk their hands in water from the Guadalupe River to dye their hands red for 24 hours to signify their time at UHV and take home a swag bag with custom-made UHV cookies.

Usually, the traditional ring ceremony is an event that allows people to meet and celebrate together, but this year, the event took place in a socially distanced format to ensure a safe environment for students and their families to celebrate, said Kira Mudd, director of alumni relations and annual giving. Some attendees also had family members attend through FaceTime if they were unable to be there in person.

“We were excited to find a way to celebrate our students and offer a safe space to recognize the accomplishments of all our Jaguars,” Mudd said. “We had a tremendous turnout, and we are excited to watch this annual tradition grow each year. This was a special celebration for our students to receive a ring they will wear for the rest of their lives that will remind them of their time at UHV.”

Because of the pandemic, few in-person events have taken place at the university, and students and their families made sure to attend the come-and-go celebration. Razo and her family traveled from Austin for the day to celebrate, and for added safety, they all received their vaccinations prior to the event. Razo will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Business Administration in management. During her time as a student living on campus, Razo served as a freshman ambassador and traveled to high schools to talk about the benefits of attending UHV.

Razo enjoyed being a student at UHV, and said the faculty made learning interesting. The School of Business Administration faculty welcomed her to the university with open arms, and everyone from her advisors to the faculty was easy to work with and was helpful.

The end of Razo’s Jaguar journey means the beginning of the next step in her plan to start her own beauty business. The business will feature vegan candles, as well as hair, makeup and skincare products made from organic ingredients that will not be tested on animals and will have a low impact on the environment.

So far, she is creating the company designs and name, and she plans to experiment with ingredients. She also plans to get a full-time job and apply for graduate school close to home. But for now, she is celebrating her time at UHV with her new class ring.

“I wouldn’t change the experience I had here, and I am glad my family and I made it out here for the celebration,” she said. “Even though it is a small university, I was challenged in ways that have prepared me for my future and have made an impact on me. I’m really happy I came here.”

UHV has more than 20,000 alumni. The official UHV class ring includes symbolism that represents both the university and Victoria, including:

  • The Guadalupe River, hidden behind kayaks, in Riverside Park, a Victoria landmark where many students go for outdoor activities as well as attend UHV baseball games at Riverside Stadium
  • The gazebo at DeLeon Plaza in downtown Victoria, where many students attended local festivals
  • Texas and a jaguar, which is especially meaningful for native Texans who are proud of their roots and for out-of-state and international students who will have a memento of their time spent in Texas. The mascot is a unifying symbol for students who are proud to call themselves Jaguars.

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