15:52 PM

Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving Season

UHD President Loren J. Blanchard

Dear UHD Community,

I want to extend my best wishes to you this Thanksgiving season, a time for reflection, gratitude, and giving to others.

Altruism is embedded in the DNA of our Campus Community at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). This culture of care for others manifests itself in the smallest of ways — just walking our hallways, you will see students stopping to help a lost visitor find their way or to assist someone who is managing a handful.

Our caring for others is evident in even greater ways, too, such as GatorServe, a UHD tradition that brings together students, staff, faculty, friends, families, and community partners to engage in service projects for our neighbors. Over the years, we have revitalized elementary school gardens, public parks, and historic cemeteries, among many other projects. GatorServe is traditionally held on the National Days of Service: Martin Luther King Jr. Day and September 11.

Think of how many communities we have touched as a collective through our Community Engagement & Service Learning Office. Earlier this year, Dr. Mesias Pedroza, Lecturer of Biology and Chemistry in the Department of Natural Sciences, and more than 20 UHD students provided valuable information to help Latino families learn about the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and asthma within their community.

We care about others locally and globally. Just last week, 125 students, faculty, and staff gathered to pack more than 18,000 meals through Rise Against Hunger, as part of UHD’s activities for National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. In the past, we have partnered with H-E-B and the Houston Food Bank to provide drive-through food distributions for our neighbors in need.

Even through coursework, our faculty members extend our service to others while teaching UHD students about the world around us — take, for instance, Dr. Judith Harris’ Senior Seminar class, which partnered with the Harris County Sheriff Office’s Brother In Arms Program to help military veterans in the county jail.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on what makes you the most grateful in your own life and how we can continue our sphere of influence in helping others, which is so much a part of the identity of UHD.

Our campus will be closed November 24-27, but finals are just around the corner, as well as our 73rd Commencement Ceremony scheduled for Saturday, December 10, at Minute Maid Park. Find time to rest during this break. I hope you enjoy this holiday to connect with loved ones and appreciate what brings you a sense of gratefulness.


Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown