Joshua Freed was appointed to the UH System Board of Regents by Governor Greg Abbott in May 2016 and will serve a one-year term. He is a senior in the UH Honors College, majoring in Political Science and Economics with minors in Phronesis, Chinese Studies and Classics. He was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia and graduated from Cy-Fair High School in 2013.
Why did you apply for the position? What was your reaction when you got word that the Governor had appointed you?
Perhaps the best answer is anecdotal. I was near Doha, State of Qatar on a fellowship, visiting Education City. Our presenter took us to the top of the Qatar Foundation’s building and pointed at the U.S. universities represented there. When I told him I attended UH, he lit up and said he knew of us, and that maybe one day we would have a campus there, alongside the others. That visit showed me what I had known but had yet to articulate—that UH is on a trajectory to being an internationally regarded haven for innovative research, committed teaching and public service. And that UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown and UH-Victoria are also on journeys toward additional excellence. I applied for this position, because that’s what I want to articulate to the Board of Regents. Generations of students who come after us will be a part of those journeys, and it’s our responsibility to open the doors for them and be competitive with the world’s best universities. I was very surprised when I got the word that I’d been chosen to help do that, and I still can’t express how honored I am.
You now represent 70,000 students in the UH System. What do you hope your mark on the Board will be?
I hope my mark is that, next June, the Board will be able to look back and say that I was a standard bearer for improving the student experience throughout the UH System. My goal is to faithfully represent the students who are here now and the hundreds of thousands who will attend one of the four UH System universities in the future.
In addition to being a Regent and studying for dual degrees, you are an RA (resident advisor), were Speaker of the Senate (Student Government Association), are engaged to be married, were busy last summer with an internship at the Smithsonian, doing research at the University of Pennsylvania and attending a seminar on literature and politics. How do you do it? Where do you find the time?
How do I do it? A strong faith, a patient fiancée and a wonderful group of friends and mentors. I love everything that fills up my schedule, from research to mentoring to the extracurricular activities, so none of it feels like work. Whenever time gets scarce and stress starts to build, I have the greatest network of close friends with which to spend time in fellowship. If you take care of yourself and your personal relationships with others, the time will be there for the work that needs to be finished.