Former Harris County Clerk Named UHD Social Work Person of the Year
Chris Hollins to be Recognized During March 22 Ceremony
By Mike Emery
Chris Hollins made history as the youngest person to serve as Harris County Clerk, as well as the first African American in that role. During his time in this critical position, he led efforts to make voting safe and accessible during the peak of the pandemic in Houston. As a result, Harris County set voter turnout records during the November 2020 election.
Hollins served as County Clerk on an interim basis and made an immediate impact. Although he has since stepped out of the Harris County Clerk’s office, Houstonians remain grateful for Hollins’ commitment to ensure they would have the opportunity to vote. On Monday, March 22, he will receive further accolades for his time as County Clerk as he will be named UHD’s Social Work Person of the Year.
Hollins will receive this honor from the University’s Social Work Program (based in the College of Public Service) during a virtual ceremony at 4 p.m., March 22. The ceremony will be broadcast on Zoom, and community members can view this event by registering in advance.
According to Dana Smith, Assistant Professor of Social Work and Director of Field Studies, Hollins demonstrated social work’s core values of service and social justice as he fought opposition to his expansion of polls throughout the county and worked diligently to protect citizens’ voting rights.
Hollins joins an elite group of Houstonians who have earned the honor of Social Work Person of the Year. Previous honorees include restaurateur Russell Ybarra, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Pulitzer Prize-winning Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg and BakerRipley President Emerita Angela Blanchard.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.