Recent Appointments in the Office of Administration


Dear University Colleagues,

With a robust and evolving portfolio of auxiliary and university services supporting the University’s strong growth trajectory, I am excited to announce the following new additions to the Office of Administration leadership team:

Deborah T Huebler, M.P.A., C.A.S.P., has been appointed executive director, Auxiliary Services, effective March 2. Deborah brings a rich mix of business development, operations, management and strategic planning experience in the higher educational sector within auxiliary services, most recently as director of campus services at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, since 2008. In her new role with the University, she will be responsible for further development of key auxiliary services operations that are fundamentally critical to the mission of each of the UHS universities, including the strategically targeted direction and execution of the financial and leadership vision across all of its broad contracted services comprised of UH Dining, Bookstore, Vending, Lease Partners, Beverage and Specialized Programs.

As a Certified Auxiliary Services Professional, Deborah has served in affiliated association leadership roles, notably with the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS), where she was Director, Liaison to the National Board—West Region. She is also a member of the National Association of College Stores, the National Association of College & University Food Services, and the Western Association of College & University Business Officers.

She earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Hawai’i and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Human Resources from Arizona State University.

Lear M. Hickman, M.B.A., was recently appointed assistant director, Cougar Card Services, in December 2019. With an extensive history in the higher education sector, both at the University of Houston since 2010, as well as in previous roles at Lone Star College and Houston Community College, she manages the comprehensive daily operations and administrative functions of Cougar Card Services, at the University of Houston, the University of Houston at Sugar Land and the University of Houston at Katy, inclusive of budgetary and operational program oversight, as well as supervisory responsibility for all customer-service facing teams at each location.

In her prior role as Assistant Director within the University of Houston Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services, she managed the portfolios of the student loan and work-study funds and accounting systems in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. In addition to financial and operational expertise at the state and federal level, she brings insight and expertise as an Adjunct Business Instructor, Lone Star College, where she taught Interpersonal Communications, improving learning outcomes through engaging curricula and non-traditional teaching methodology. While at the University of Houston, she has served on Staff Council since 2015, and was a member of the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Assessment Committee, among others. She is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

She earned a Master’s of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southern University at New Orleans.

Please join me in welcoming Deborah and Lear to the team and offer them your full support.


Emily A. Messa, Ph.D, CASP (M.Ed.’12, Ph.D.’15)
Associate Vice Chancellor/
Associate Vice President for Administration
University of Houston System/University of Houston