As a relatively young four-year institution, having expanded in 2010 to serve freshmen and sophomores, the University of Houston-Victoria is growing at a rapid pace. And so are campus traditions. Students who want to make their mark and start new traditions should join the Student Government Association, the voice of the student body. Below are some UHV traditions.
The jaguar, which is the largest cat in North America, is a fierce and powerful animal that became UHV’s mascot in 2007. It is an animal that is both smart and muscular, a fitting symbol of what it takes to be successful on the field and in the classroom. It also is an animal that once heavily populated this region.
A jaguar sculpture was donated in 2009 to UHV by local artist Harold Nichols. He originally created the 250-pound, plate steel sculpture in 1973 when he was a business manager at Victoria College, where he worked until his retirement in 1980. He then became a full-time artist. Nichols also had ties to UHV after working here for a year beginning in 1974 as the part-time fiscal officer of what was then known as the University of Houston Victoria Center.
After he created the jaguar, Nichols placed it outside the Farmers Co-Op, also known as the Old Thurmond Building, 905 S. Bridge St. He owned the property before selling part of the complex to the Victoria Art League in 1999.
In 2010, a Jaguar Naming Contest occurred to name the sculpture. The naming contest received more than 200 suggestions from UHV employees and students, the community and local school children. The selected name was “jaX,” because Jaguars Are eXceptional. The sculpture rests between the UHV University Center and University West buildings. It’s said to be a bit of a good luck charm, as you can often see students rubbing the head of jaX before they take exams in order to ensure academic success.
In August 2012, jaX the Jaguar, the official university mascot,made his debut at UHV. You can find jaX at athletic games and other student activities, as well as in the community at a variety of different events. In June 2015, a real-life jaguar, also named jaX, made his debut at the Texas Zoo. jaX came to Victoria from the Wild World of Animals in Pennsylvania. Later in the fall of 2015, the university SGA officially adopted the hashtag #JAXNATION for use on social media when talking about UHV.
The official UHV hand sign came into existence in April of 2015 after over a year of research of other institutions by the SGA. It was created to enhance school spirit and bring students together behind a unifying symbol. The sign is made using the right hand by folding down the ring finger at the second knuckle and curving the other fingers slightly. The curve is meant to represent a jaguar’s claws, and the letters U, H and V are represented in the fingers. The thumb and pointer finger form a “U,” the “H” is represented by the middle, pinky and ring finger, and the pointer and middle fingers resemble a “V.”
The Jaguar Ring
An initiative that was three years in the making, UHV unveiled its official class ring during its 2017 Homecoming. Led by SGA, the class ring was designed by students working in conjunction with staff and administrators. Rings may be purchased by UHV alumni or students who have completed at least 60 credit hours toward their degree by visiting Balfour. During the spring semester, a ceremony is held for students who have earned their class ring. For more information about ordering a class ring or the ring ceremony, please contact Kelsey Norgard, director of alumni relations and annual giving, at (361)570-4869. The ring is a source of pride and accomplishment, and an identifier of UHV alumni. Below is what the different elements on the ring represent.
River – The river with hidden kayaks represents the Guadalupe River in Riverside Park, one of Victoria’s landmarks and a place where many students go for outdoor activities as well as UHV baseball games in Riverside Stadium.
Gazebo – The gazebo represents the DeLeon Plaza in downtown Victoria where students attend many festivals the city hosts. The plaza is a signature landmark in the Crossroads.
Pyramids – The two pyramids, part of Pyramid Row, are a staple of the UHV campus. This spot is where students complete Jaguar Journey new student orientation and participate in many other activities throughout the year. The pyramids are one of the first landmarks students identify when talking about the UHV campus.
Texas and Jaguar - On one side, the ring features the UHV Athletics jaguar mascot on top of an outline of the state of Texas. These symbols are meant to be especially meaningful for Texas natives who are proud of their roots, and for out-of-state and international students who will have a memento of the time they spent in Texas. The mascot is a unifying symbol for students who are proud to call themselves Jaguars.
UHV Logo – Part of the UHV logo is highlighted on the ring since it is the symbol that most students, faculty, staff and alumni identify with when they think of the university.
Academic Seal – The UHV seal is featured on the top of the ring, representative of all of the time and effort it takes students to succeed academically to reach the point of obtaining a class ring.
The creation of the UHV alma mater began in 2017 as a Student Government Association initiative. The process became a collaborative effort between UHV students, faculty, staff and alumni who were part of an alma mater committee. On May 2, 2018 the alma mater was revealed at an unveiling event held at Pyramid Row. Here are the words to the alma mater. It is sung to the tune of “Far Above Cayuga's Waters”:
Deep within the Golden Crescent,
Waves of roses bloom,
Stands our loyal Alma Mater,
Tall and strong and true.
We are Jaguars, hear our voices,
Fear our pride and might.
Hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
Roaring in the night.
Bless’d are those who came before us,
They who seized the day.
Sing in one acclaiming chorus,
Hail to U-H-V!
Our most recent tradition, the Jaguar Pillars, were created by the Student Government Association during the 2021-2022 academic school year.
The students at the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) are committed to instilling the following Jaguar Pillars in academic, leadership, service, and social opportunities throughout our college journey and beyond. We proudly embody these pillars as core values to cultivate a welcoming and empowering student community that bridges academic and social experiences.
Authentic – Jaguars value a self-identity that is original and celebrated. We are honest, sincere in our beliefs, and embrace unbiased spaces that fuel the culture of learning.
Courageous – Jaguars are fearless in our pursuit of excellence. We dare to be different in all that we do and possess an inner strength that enables us to persevere through challenges.
Selfless – Jaguars consistently do what is right without regard to difficulty or convenience. We are generous, compassionate, and persistent in our efforts to help individuals achieve success in life.
United – Jaguars recognize that individuals brought together are stronger than standing alone. We welcome, support, and respect every member of our community to build a vibrant campus environment.
Visionary – Jaguars are imaginative and dedicated forward-thinkers. We encourage others to manifest passions, embody a growth mindset, and transform dreams into reality.