Gore off to new challenges at UTPB

Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Office Jacqui Gore welcomes attendees to a press conference Aug. 5, 2021, in the Saulsbury Center. (OA File Photo)

When she leaves Odessa College for University of Texas Permian Basin at the end of August, Jacqui Gore’s role will be similar, but more focused on community outreach and partnerships.

“That is my favorite thing to do — work with the community, bring industry to the students. That’s what my focus area will be at UTPB. When I saw this job opportunity, it really spoke to me as far as the things I really do enjoy,” said Gore, who has been at OC for almost five years.

The job that she will have at UTPB, Vice President of Community Engagement and Partnerships, is newly created. Her first day will be Sept. 1. Her last day at OC is Aug. 31.

Previously, Gore had been at Medical Center Hospital from April 2010 to November 2018 and before that at Odessa Regional Medical Center January 1999 to April 2010 as director of communications and marketing in a one-person department.

“That was such a great role for me early in my career because I was a one-person department for many years,” Gore said. She had one employee her last year there.

“I really learned all the pieces and parts to communications and marketing. That was my first opportunity to work in a larger organization and I learned a lot in that role,” Gore said.

At UTPB, Gore said President Sandra Woodley and the administration team are determining what staff members will be part of the community engagement and outreach team.

Gore said she has learned something everywhere she’s been and that she’s been blessed to work with — and for — some amazing leaders in this community.

“Odessa College is a special place. When I first talked to (President) Dr. (Gregory) Williams about joining this team, he asked me why do you want to work at Odessa College. I’ve learned that’s a common question Dr. Williams asks every soon-to-be new-employee. I told him I wanted to learn what the secret sauce was here at Odessa College because I had worked alongside Odessa College leaders in my health care roles,” Gore said.

“Odessa College was growing. It was being recognized on a national level. Just such a dynamic team and I wanted to know what is the secret sauce? What is this winning mentality? Where’s that coming from? I quickly learned in my first few months here that it’s the culture,” she added.

Everything they do at OC is completely focused on student success, Gore said. It doesn’t matter what the employees’ role is, they all have the same mantra. They will take new students where they need to go to register, find scholarships or wherever they need to go.

“That really lit a fire in me about higher education. This was my first opportunity to work in higher education and just to see the possibilities and to see students take that step toward their certificate or degree was just so exciting to me,” Gore said.

She added that she’s ready to get started at UTPB.

“One of the things I will be doing in my new role at UTPB is serving as liaison with the area school districts and with the area community colleges. I’m really excited that I’ll get to continue working with Odessa College. A great foundation has already been laid in the partnership. Odessa College works very closely with UT Permian Basin and with ECISD. It’s going to take that close working relationship to make a difference in our community and using that same format across the region to do what we need to do to help students have the opportunity to seek higher education,” Gore said.

She’ll work primarily with Odessa College, Midland College and Howard College, but there could be others with the larger territory.

University of Texas Permian Basin President Sandra Woodley poses for a photo Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 at the UTPB Mesa Building. (Odessa American/Eli Hartman)

Woodley said she’s happy to have Gore join UTPB.

“Jacqui is a unique talent and her experience and passion for the community will enhance UTPB’s impact in our region. Her role will be focused on how we connect and serve our many partners in the Permian Basin. I am thrilled to have her as part of our team,” Woodley said in an email.

There are many projects that Gore spearheaded that will continue.

“All of the capital campaigns are still in progress. The Wood Health Sciences Building, the Odessa College Downtown, James Segrest Stadium (and) a new academic building on campus,” Gore said.

There also will be an academic building downtown. On campus the academic building will be Wilkerson 2.

“We’ve made asks to donors, and … are all in different stages,” Gore said.

A bridge over University Boulevard is a newer project that she hadn’t started working on donors for yet.

“But that’s going to be an important project as these new buildings open because we’ll have a parking issue. The goal is to have the bridge built so that employees can park on the north side of University over in the Greg Williams Hall parking lot and free up the parking lot for the Wood Health Sciences Building … It’s on track to be finished this time next year,” Gore said.

Chief of Staff Robert Rivas and Lindsey Bryant, executive assistant to the president, will oversee the Office of Institutional Advancement after Gore’s departure and continue to be the primary contacts for community partners and donors.

“Then of course, Donna Wittie, who is our Office of Institutional Advancement admin assistant — she works with donors on a daily basis as well — she’ll still be here in the office, answering telephone calls, responding to contributions. I think we’ll have a really smooth transition, and of course, Dr. Greg Williams, he’s a primary contact for many Odessa College partners and donors who customarily contact him directly. He’s built a very strong relationship with partners over his 17 years at Odessa College. Those relationships are stronger than ever,” Gore said.

Odessa College Honors comes up on Nov. 8. Invitations are about to go out.

Ector County ISD Superintendent Scott Muri will be named Outstanding Educator; Chris Cole, president and chief operating officer of Southwest Bank, will be named Outstanding Individual; and Andrews ISD will be honored with a Community Impact Award, Gore said.

The family atmosphere is what she said she will miss about leaving OC.

“Everybody is here for one another and truly pitches in when we have big projects. Our department helps other areas when they have something big happening and vice-versa. … It doesn’t take long for a new employee to get acquainted with those who work in different departments and maybe across campus because we have so many different events where we come together. I think that’s part of that secret sauce in the success of Odessa College is we’re all in. We’re here to support the students. We show up at choir concerts and band concerts and sporting events and ribbon cuttings and grand openings. You name it. The entire campus shows up,” Gore said.

“I experienced it personally when my mom passed away in January. The OC community really rallied around me and my family and I’ll always be grateful for that,” she added.

Gore knows quite a few people at UTPB and probably more than she realizes.

“I think a lot of Dr. Woodley and the administration team; the faculty members and the coaches that I know there are wonderful people. I’m looking forward to being part of their culture and part of their team as well,” she added.

Jacqui Gore

Gore grew up in Odessa and attended Odessa College and Midland College. Her first class at OC was a typing course, which her mother made her take.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Southwest Texas State University, now Texas State University.

“I felt comfortable coming to Odessa College because I had been on this campus … I also attended Midland College and worked on the newspaper staff there. Then I went on to Southwest Texas, which is now Texas State, and I worked on the newspaper staff there and I had a lot of fun,” Gore said.

She returned home and worked at CVA Advertising for Craig Van Amburgh. She had worked for him while attending MC as well.

She and her husband, Mark, have two daughters, Sydney and Hannah. Gore is proud that both young women are college graduates and have chosen to start their careers here in Odessa-Midland.

Sydney is working as the marketing coordinator at Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center and Hannah is working as a marketing coordinator and EF Outfitters manager at Sewell Family of Companies.

Hannah played soccer at UTPB for three years and graduated in May with a communications degree. Gore said she had a wonderful experience living on campus and playing soccer. She loved her professors and met students from all over the world.

Sydney graduated from Texas Tech University in May 2021 with a degree in marketing. She is currently pursuing her MBA from UTPB.

“Mark and I are so proud of them for completing their education and getting their college degree and launching their career right here. We need young people to choose to stay here in the Permian Basin. We have so many job opportunities here, especially right now. We need to encourage our young people to seek their education and fill these job openings. I think that’s where I feel like I can make a difference here at Odessa College and then now at UT Permian Basin where really working with these young people and determining what are they looking for in their career and how can we get them placed in a high-skill, high-wage career right here in the Permian Basin. It’s a great place to start,” Gore added.