Ensuring Safety: Anthony McDonald's UHD Alumni Journey
By Cynthia Gonzales
There's one unique piece of building material in the future College of Sciences & Technology Building that most Gators may not know exists.
It's Alumni Grit. And, it's embodied in every part of the University of Houston-Downtown's (UHD) $73 million College of Sciences & Technology Building.
That Alumni Grit is thanks to UHD alumnus Anthony McDonald.
You see, McDonald is the Project Safety Coordinator for Vaughn Construction, the company overseeing the building construction scheduled to continue through 2019.
“It’s such an honor to be working at the place where I graduated from and I’m doing exactly what my degree has trained me to do,” said McDonald, who received the assignment at his alma mater a few months ago.
He graduated from UHD in December 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Safety Management and was employed by another company prior to arriving at Vaughn a year ago.
“I was ecstatic when they told me I would be working at my alma mater,” said McDonald.
McDonald is tasked with keeping all 200 on-site workers safe. His duties include, onboarding, new hire orientation, meeting with workers, and auditing the construction site on daily basis to ensure everyone’s safety.
“Basically, everybody that comes onto this site has to come through me,” he noted. “It’s a huge task for one man to do.”
Recently, the CST construction site celebrated with a Topping Ceremony—an event that features a symbolic gesture of putting the final beam into place.
“This construction tradition also marks the celebration of a safe construction site,” he added. “We’re still going strong. We don’t have any safety violations, incidents, casualties or injuries. It’s a great milestone.”
McDonald is honored to be part of one of the biggest expansion projects in this city and within UHD’s history.
“I’m a little bit taken back by the opportunity to come back and build up my school,” he said. “It’s like giving back and I’m really proud of my alma mater.”
The newest addition to campus will be the first building to occupy a 17-acre tract of land purchased by UHD in 2016. This area extends north of the One Main Building and runs along White Oak Bayou and North Main Street. In addition to the College of Sciences & Technology Building, UHD is reviewing opportunities for further campus development on this parcel of land.
McDonald credits current students with keeping him motivated in his position.
“I see students pass by every day and I see myself in them,” he said. “I see what they can become and where they’re headed.”
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.