14:40 PM

UHD Honors The 100 Club for Funding over $4 million in Scholarships

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) held a luncheon Friday to honor The 100 Club for its continued support of the University's criminal justice students.

A nonprofit organization, The 100 Club funds scholarships for law enforcement officers to further their education in criminal justice. The club is also dedicated to supporting the dependents of firefighters and law officers who have died in the line of duty by paying their debts and providing an education for their children, as well as providing life-protecting equipment for local law enforcement agencies. Since its inception in 1954, The 100 Club has provided nearly $4 million in scholarships to criminal justice students at UHD, benefiting more than 750 graduates.

Representatives from The 100 Club included Executive Director and UHD alumnus Rick Hartley, Scholarship Committee President Ted Lyons, Scholarship Committee Chair Jerry Crews, and Finance Committee Chair Ken Moore. Also in attendance were UHD administrators, criminal justice faculty, and past and current scholarship recipients.

UHD President Bill Flores and Johanna Wolfe, vice president for advancement and external relations, opened the program with expressions of appreciation.

"We wanted to set aside this time to specifically thank The 100 Club for your organization's continuous dedication to criminal justice, the City of Houston, and UHD," said Flores.

Interim dean of the College of Public Service, Leigh Van Horn, tearfully thanked the club for creating opportunities for higher education for hundreds of UHD students.

Hartley recognized the scholarships as a benefit to all involved, stating, "I am so proud of all the students and alumni in this room. The scholarships we provide create a win-win situation for all of us. UHD graduates who are in service at our local law enforcement agencies go on to be come better managers. They are better leaders to their subordinates, and they are better at managing our taxpayers' resources. We all win."

The program wrapped up with each of the 22 students and alumni in attendance standing to say a few words about the personal impact of The 100 Club scholarships.

Harris County Sheriff's Office's Juan Johnson said, "I worked in the force for 29 years before attending school. All that time, I had a very 'us vs. them' mentality. My education here at UHD has given me a scholarly perspective. I now see the same work through very different eyes."

Brian Aguilar of Spring ISD Police Department fought back tears as he told his story. Aguilar, who was forced to drop out of high school after taking off time to nurse a sick relative, earned a GED in 2001. He started college in 2002, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in December 2014.

"It took me 12 years, but I did it. In the meantime, I built a beautiful family and served the police department. I couldn't have done it without the financial help from The 100 Club," said Aguilar.

The 100 Club has a membership of more than 30,000 citizens who support its mission with an annual minimum membership donation of $100. One-hundred percent of the organization's funding comes from individuals and businesses.