Houston student-athletes record highest fall GPA and cumulative GPA in program history.
In her 16th year at the University of Houston, Maria Peden is the Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development. She joined the Academic Center for Excellence/Student-Athlete Services staff in September 1996.
Her responsibilities include coordinating all aspects of the Academic Center for Excellence for Student-Athletes including new student-athlete orientations, tutoring, and career/lifeskills events.
She also participates in recruiting visits and works with the coaching staff to ensure that all of UH's athletics teams reach out to the community. Each year, student-athletes participate in public speaking and volunteer activities at local elementary schools, hospitals, libraries and centers for the disabled.
Peden also coordinates the admissions process for all incoming student-athletes as well as housing requests and academic reports. She calculates and submits to the NCAA all Academic Progress Rates (APR) and graduation rate data. Peden's office nominates UH student-athletes for Conference USA and national awards and assists with the annual UH All-Sports Banquet and annual SAAC Holiday Dinner.
She serves as the principal academic advisor for men's golf but continues to work closely with the football and men's and women's basketball teams and has served as academic counselor for baseball, volleyball, softball and swimming and diving teams in previous years.
In 2007, Peden was selected to serve as the administrative liaison to the Athletics Advisory Committee and also serves on the UH Substance Abuse Prevention Committee and the UH Advisors' Coordinating Team.
She began work with student-athletes as a tutor at the University of North Carolina before returning to her hometown of Washington, D.C., where she was appointed the University Teaching Fellow at George Washington University and began work on her doctorate.
She came to UH in 1996 and worked as the lead counselor for the football team from 1997-99. Peden left to travel and live in Ireland but rejoined the student-athlete services staff in December 2000 when she was appointed the academic counselor for men's basketball.
Peden earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Trinity College in Washington, D.C., in 1986, and a master's degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina.
She and her husband, Patrick, live in Houston.