Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has named a University of Houston-Victoria student Alvaro De la Cruz Jr. as the student regent on the University of Houston System Board of Regents. De la Cruz will serve on the board until May 31, 2021, representing students across all four UH System universities.
“This appointment is an incredible honor, and I am so excited to be able to represent my university and all of the UH System’s students,” De la Cruz said. “It’s a huge responsibility, and I’m looking forward to being part of this critical group.”
The student regent works with the nine members of the UH System Board of Regents to make governing decisions for the system and each university. Although the student regent does not have a vote on the board, he or she does represent the voice of the system’s 74,0000 students during the board’s quarterly meetings.
De la Cruz has been a student leader at UHV throughout his academic career there. He is a residence hall coordinator for UHV Residence Life, advisor of the Residence Hall Association and is pursuing a Master of Education in adult and higher education. In 2019, he graduated from UHV with a Bachelor of Science in biology.
“Alvaro De la Cruz has shown great dedication to the success of the University of Houston-Victoria as a student,” UH System Chancellor Renu Khator said. “I am excited about the opportunity for him to serve as a student regent and the enthusiasm he will bring to move all of our universities forward.”
As an undergraduate, De la Cruz served in numerous leadership positions for a number of student organizations, most notably as president of the UHV Student Government Association. He has received multiple awards, including the 2018 UHV Student Leadership Award and the 2017 UHV Spirit of the Jaguar Award. De la Cruz also served on the Presidential Search Committee that recommended the hiring of UHV President Bob Glenn.
“Alvaro is a young man who has become a major part of the student leadership group at UHV,” Glenn said. “His commitment to excellence and his love for the university have made a lasting impact on UHV. I am excited to see how he will bring that same level of excellence to serve as the student representative for the UHS Board of Regents.”
Typically, the student regent begins the term by touring each campus in the UH System to better understand the climate, strengths and challenges of each institution. The tour usually includes meeting with leaders on each campus, including administrators, members of faculty and staff governing bodies, and student government representatives. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing De la Cruz to consider alternative ways to meet with officials.
“It’s important for me to know about each institution so I can offer an accurate student perspective,” he said. “We’re looking into scheduling virtual sessions, so I can still meet the leaders of each university while also practicing social distancing.”
De la Cruz, a graduate student from Converse, Texas, is the second UHV student to serve as student regent since the university was founded more than 45 years ago. The previous student regent from UHV was Kristen Lindley Sayegh, who was appointed in 2009 by Gov. Rick Perry and served through May 31, 2010.