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President Bill Flores focuses on students’ futures

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UH-D President William Flores, Ph.D., recently sat down with The Venture. He was promoted to the position in 2009 by UH president Renu Khator.

Q: You have made comments to the media about giving UH-D students a “high-impact experience”. How would you define that?

A: A high-impact experience is any experience that helps students connect to the their learning, such as mentors, undergraduate research, internships, service learning, etc.

Q: How does a high impact experience help students?

A: We have many students who are already working with faculty on their research projects. For example, in science and math we have the Scholars Academy where students get involved in faculty research projects their freshmen year.

They are funded to present at national conferences. We are trying to expand these opportunities to students in other majors, but that takes funding, so we are applying for grants and foundation support.

Q: What legacy do you want to leave at UH-D?

A: I want to be remembered for the good work I’ve done over many years in several cities and states to help students succeed and community organizations grow stronger.

Q: Are you the first member of your family to attend college?

A: I am the first person in my family to go to college. Neither of my brothers got their degrees, but they did go to college for technical certificates.

Q: Did you received any scholarships in college?

A: I did not have scholarships as an undergraduate but, I did as a graduate student.

Q: What was the hardest thing you had to overcome?

A: I got married young and got laid off at the time of my son’s birth, which was just after buying a house. So, I had to drop out from graduate school to provide for my family. It was many years later that I was able to go back and get a doctorate.

Q: What is your motivation in life?

A: My desire to help people succeed, especially first-generation college students.

Q: Describe yourself in one word?

A: Blessed.

Q: What do you do on your spare time?

A: I spend a lot of time getting to know Houston, attending functions to support other organizations and to raise money for UH-D scholarships. In my free time, I bike, go to movies and I love sports (like the Rockets and the Astros).

Q: What quote or words do you live by?

A: Work hard, don’t give up, and keep at it. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So, take your time but be persistent.

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