Lexington, VA — The Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty (SHECP) is pleased to welcome its newest and twenty-fifth member, University of St. Thomas Houston (UST). UST is located in a diverse and vibrant urban environment a few minutes away from downtown Houston and the Texas Medical Center. UST has a student body of over 3,200, with a 68% ethnic diversity.

Fr. Chris Valka, CSB, the Director of UST’s Donald S. Nesti, CSSp Center for Faith & Culture said, “An important element of UST’s mission recognizes that education is rarely a private affair, even though it is unique to each person’s experience. We learn from others so that we may increase the capacity of our own gifts and to build up the community around us. We live this mission better through our partnerships, and I am thrilled that SHECP has agreed to partner with our students, faculty and staff.”

SHECP Founder and outgoing Executive Director, Dr. Harlan Beckley noted, “Beginning with our initial contact in the early fall of 2017, Fr. Chris Valka, CSB and his colleagues at the University were enthusiastic and careful planners for submitting a UST application for SHECP membership. Brett Morash and I were both impressed with what UST can bring to SHECP as well as how its students can benefit from association with SHECP.”

New Executive Director, Dr. Brett Morash, stated, “Everything impressed me about UST and what they will bring to the SHECP community. Everyone is engaged from the senior most leadership through the student body. They have an amazing base to start from and we expect they will blaze new pathways in ending poverty in the United States and beyond.”
UST has the honor of becoming our twenty-fifth member and is the fifth Catholic University along with John Carroll University, Marymount University, Niagara University, and the University of Notre Dame.

SHECP is a Consortium of colleges and universities that are committed to the study of poverty as a complex social problem, by expanding and improving educational opportunities for college students in a wide range of disciplines and career trajectories. SHECP institutions support undergraduates toward a lifetime of professional and civil efforts to diminish poverty and enhance human capability.

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