Houston entrepreneurs and philanthropists Victor and Barbara Samuels have long been supportive of the need for social workers, who take on relatively low-paying jobs because they want to protect and address the needs of some of society's most vulnerable members.
To help support the next generation of social workers, the couple has donated $1 million to the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, officials announced Monday. The gift builds on an endowed scholarship at UH that the Samuels established in 2014.
The scholarships will be open to all students interested in pursuing a career in social work. They will be awarded based on academic merit and financial need.
Victor Samuels, known to friends as Vic, is the former CEO of Victory Packaging, which he established in 1976. He has been a longtime supporter of UH, dating back to 2002, when he joined the Dean's Advisory Council. Barbara Samuels, known to friends as Bobbi, is a UH alumna and was a longtime instructor at UH-Clear Lake.
The couple has also endowed the “Bobbi and Vic Samuels Center for Jewish Living and Learning” at the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston.
“Social workers strive to improve individuals and communities and help the neediest in society,” Victor Samuels said in a statement. “The GCSW has become a primary source of social workers in Houston and our surrounding area. We expect our gift to be an investment in our city, now and in the future.”