15K Enrollment Campaign Kicks Off June 27
By Sheryl E. Taylor
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) community came together on June 20 to kick off the 2019 Enrollment Challenge. The second annual event officially launched the University’s campaign to grow its enrollment to 15,000 students this fall.
UHD’s very-own Admission Possible band (Chris Bell, Spencer Lightsy, Dr. Paul Fortunato) treated the audience to a brand new song for the occasion, “15 Grand.”
Daniel Villaneuva, Jr., associate vice president of Enrollment Management & Registrar, served as the master of ceremonies for the 2019 kick-off of this year’s 15,000 Enrollment Campaign. Hosted in the Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Auditorium, the event featured UHD President Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz; Dr. Eric Carl Link, senior vice president of Academic and Student Affairs & Provost; newcomer Dr. Jimmy Jung, vice president of Enrollment Management; Dr. Scott Marzilli, dean of University College; Ceshia Love, director of Undergraduate Admissions; and Jenna Tabakman, executive director of Student Communications & Transition Programs.
First up was Dr. Eric Carl Link who revved up the crowd with a pep rally-style introduction with famous uses of 15—from the atomic number of phosphorous to Taylor Swift’s 2009 album Fearless featuring the song, “15.”
“15,000 students represents a certain kind of milestone for the University of Houston-Downtown,” said Link. “Make no mistake, the reason we want to break the 15,000 goal is not because of the funding formula or the semester credit hours. For me, it’s about value proposition of the opportunity to welcome 15,000 students this fall on a path to a better future. What we offer to students is significant by giving them a chance to a better life…making a difference in our community, nation and world. We do that right here at UHD.”
UHD students led the crowd in a Gator chant.
“This event is quite amazing,” said Jung, vice president of Enrollment Management. “While visiting campus as a candidate during a campus tour, I noticed 14,500 t-shirts being worn by passersby. After seeing my third or fourth t-shirt, I finally asked someone what their t-shirt meant. The person said “it’s UHD’s enrollment goal and we achieved it.” That's when I knew I wanted to be a part of this campus, where enrollment management is a shared vision and commitment—from the faculty to staff to students—to ensure our students Finish UHD Strong. Houston needs a growing, thriving university.”
Marzilli followed Jung with updates on how the colleges and academic and student affairs commitment to contribute to reach UHD’s enrollment goal—from College of Public Service’s assistance with education costs to new scholarships in the College of Humanities & Social Sciences to University College’s Ambassadors Program to College of Sciences & Technology’s two new degree programs to Marilyn Davies College of Business’ scholarships for new and continuing students and new incoming student programs, like the Summer Slam event.
“This University is special…everyone has the same goal to reach it together,” said Marzilli. “To have this campaign for a second year is really exceptional. It’s more than just 15,000 students. Every student who walks through our doors has made a conscious decision to change their lives, their family and the trajectory for families to come. It all starts with getting them into UHD.”
Muñoz closed the program by thanking the event organizers and welcoming Jung, Tabakman and others who are new to UHD.
“As all of us knows there’s a tremendous spirit of service here at UHD,” noted Muñoz. “This 15,000 campaign is to make sure that those who need to be here at this University are here to experience a different kind of education. There’s no doubt in mind that we’re going to attract these students because of the caliber of our faculty and staff. Once we have them here, we won’t let them fail.”
Admission Possible closed out the event with special guest, Link on bass guitar.
The campaign challenge will run from June 27 to the first day of classes on August 19. The UHD website features the Gator Meter which tracks the progress to the 15,000 goal. As of June 24, more than 6,600 students have registered for the fall semester.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.