Spring 2022 graduates from the University of Houston-Victoria will have the opportunity to celebrate their graduation and hear words of encouragement from the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness this month- ci during the opening ceremonies of the university in Victoria.
UHV will hold two dedication ceremonies on May 14 at Faith Family Church, 2002 E. Mockingbird Lane. The 10:00 a.m. ceremony will be restricted to graduates of the Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Natural and Applied Sciences colleges. The 3 p.m. ceremony will be restricted to graduates of colleges of business and education and health professions. A live broadcast of the ceremonies will be available at www.uhv.edu/graduation.
“The launch is a milestone that we are proud to celebrate with our students, who have all worked tirelessly to achieve this goal,” said UHV President Bob Glenn. “It’s a joyous occasion for all, and I look forward to congratulating each of our students as they walk across the stage.”
Keynote speech for both ceremonies will be delivered by Gilbert Cisneros, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Cisneros was sworn in on August 24, 2021 and is the Principal Staff Assistant and Advisor to the Secretary of Defense on Force Readiness; force management; health affairs; National Guard and Reserve Affairs; Education and formation; and the needs and management of military and civilian personnel, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and quality of life. Cisneros, a native of Southern California, is a former military officer, philanthropist, veterans advocate, and congressman with national security experience.
He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1989 after graduating from high school and was selected for the Expanded Opportunity Program for Officer Selection and Training. In 1994 he was commissioned into the US Navy and served for 10 years before working for Frito-Lay. In 2010, with his wife Jacki, he created the Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, which aims to help students find a path to higher education with scholarships and university access programs. In addition to supporting educational initiatives, such as Better Make Room, they have also backed organizations such as It’s On Us to end harassment and sexual assault on college campuses, and the USO, which supports troops in service. asset. He also founded the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute at his alma mater, George Washington University, which not only provides scholarships for Latino students, but also becomes a leading institute for policy issues that affect the Latino community. Prior to serving in Congress, Gilbert was a member of the President’s Advisory Council for the Arts and a member of the DNC Finance Committee.
A strong advocate for our military and veterans, Cisneros served on the Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees when he represented California’s 39th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He championed the wording of the National Defense Authorization Act to foster greater diversity in our military officer corps. He fought to solve the problem of mental health and suicide among our veterans and our military. After the death of specialist Vanessa Guillén, he was invited to participate in discussions about the status of Latinos in the military and helped introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillén law to make sexual harassment a crime in the military. Uniform Code of Military Justice. He has advocated for military families on issues of housing, child abuse, and outstanding family members. He was candid about the military playing a bigger role in protecting our planet and secured language in the NDAA for the military to begin converting all non-tactical vehicles to zero-emission vehicles. As a former naval officer, he earned language in the NDAA that will assess and strengthen the Navy’s process to not only make better warriors, but better shipmasters. He is also a co-founder of the Military Transition Assistance Pathway Caucus to support and advocate for service members returning to civilian life.
He attended college on a scholarship from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from George Washington University. While in the Navy, Cisneros earned a master’s degree in business administration from Regis University. At the age of 43, after starting his education foundation, he returned to school using his GI Bill and earned a master’s degree in urban education policy from Brown University.
Cisneros has received numerous awards for his military service, philanthropic work, and as a member of Congress. Most recently, he received an award from the US Navy Memorial for his years of service to our country, and he was recognized by the US Chamber of Commerce with its Abraham Lincoln Award for his bipartisan work in the House of Representatives in small business name. .
“We are truly honored to have Secretary Cisneros participate in our commencement ceremony this year,” said Chance Glenn Sr., UHV provost and vice president of academic affairs. “It is indeed a powerful statement that even in these tumultuous global times, the Secretary appreciates the importance of higher education and the power it can have to transform lives. I want to thank him and his staff, for working with us to make this happen. I believe they recognize the importance that UHV has to this community and the Victoria region and therefore support our mission in word and deed.
In addition to the address, the ceremonies will include remarks from UHV President Bob Glenn and Tiarah Figueroa, President of the UHV Student Government Association. The Deans and Acting Deans of the four UHV colleges will present candidates for graduation. UHV alumnus and Victoria County Attorney Constance Filley Johnson will also introduce the graduates to the UHV Alumni Association at both ceremonies.
Jesse Garcia of Victoria will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony. He was named Outstanding Undergraduate Student in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Three UHV faculty members who were recently recognized for their work in teaching, research and service will also be honored at both ceremonies. These faculty members are:
Excellence in Teaching Award – Anthony Madrid, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and English and Creative Writing Program Director
Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity – Armando Chávez-Rivera, Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Spanish Program
Distinguished Faculty Service Award – Sandy Venneman, Professor of Psychology and Biology
Graduates are asked to arrive one hour before their commencement ceremony. Air horns, buzzers and laser pointers will not be permitted at the ceremony. Balloons, signs larger than 2 feet by 2 feet, banners and flowers are prohibited in the arena but can be checked in at the guest services table. First come, first served.
For more information on commencement, go to uhv.edu/graduation/graduation-frequently-asked-questions or contact [email protected] or 361-570-4848.