Dr. Phil Castille became the eighth president of the University of Houston-Victoria in August 2011. He immediately took up UHV’s most important challenge – expanding from an upper-division, commuter university offering junior, senior and graduate courses into a full-fledged residential university admitting freshmen and sophomores. This ambitious process is often referred to as “downward expansion.”
Among the achievements of his first year as president are creating the “UHV Guarantee,” a generous financial aid opportunity for qualifying underclassmen; launching a year-long celebration of UHV’s 40th anniversary in the UH System from 1973-2013; and extending UHV’s educational reach across its entire service region, including Greater Houston.
Student recruitment is a focal point of his presidency, leading to rapid gains in freshman and sophomore enrollments and the opening of a second residence hall in fall 2012. Campus infrastructure is a priority with approximately $25 million in new construction projects under way in Victoria, including a third residence hall now under construction; and an Academic & Economic Development Building, set to break ground this spring as UHV’s first new academic building in Victoria since the late 1990s. These capital projects are part of a new campus master plan to guide growth over the remainder of the decade and beyond.
Prior to joining UHV, Dr. Castille served as vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, where he oversaw all academic programs, including the founding of a College of Pharmacy. Before that, he served as founding dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Eastern Washington University in Spokane/Cheney, and as founding director of the School of Literature & Language at Louisiana Tech University.
President Castille earned his bachelor's degree from Tulane University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. His masters's is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. is from Tulane.
Before becoming a full-time administrator in 1994 as head of the English Department at LaTech, he was a full-time faculty member at Tulane, the University of Memphis, and the University of Houston-Downtown. There he earned the University Teaching Award, taught in the Texas London Consortium at University College London, was a finalist for the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation Texas University Teaching Award, and served as president of the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Houston, which set national records for awarding scholarships to top high school graduates.
Dr. Castille has been a tenured professor at five public universities, specializing in teaching technical and scientific writing. Much of his scholarship has centered on Southern literature, film and culture. His work on William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, Erskine Caldwell and other authors has appeared in numerous books and journals that focus on the modern South. Since 1995, he has been a member of the St. George Tucker Society, which is by invitation only; based at Emory University, it includes leading scholars in Southern Studies.