Message from the UHD President: Celebrating the ‘Pride’ This Month
Greetings UHD Community,
We can all recall a moment of time in our lives when we have felt proud.
The University of Houston-Downtown feels that sense of pride daily in our determination and dedication to celebrate the diversity of our Campus Community.
In June, we recognize an important segment of that Community by celebrating Pride Month. Pride Month serves as a powerful emblem of inclusion and acceptance for all members of the LGBTQIA community – and a reminder of the obstacles this community has had to overcome.
Since opening its doors to the Greater Houston community in 1974, UHD has been an icon of inclusion, equity, and justice for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of individual differences. Those differences are, in fact, the source of our strength and what enable our University Community to contribute uniquely and meaningfully to important diversity efforts in our city, state, nation, and world.
Meet three UHD Alumni, Lane Lewis (’03), Jackie Aguilera (’89), and Fran Watson (’05), who are outstanding Gator alumni that are changing the landscape in our communities and beyond.
Lewis, an LGBTQ+ activist, helped lead the charge in the landmark 2003 gay-rights case, Lawrence v. Texas. Aguilera facilitates projects for the Mayor’s Office for Adult Literacy, including the Houston Adult Literacy Blueprint, developed in partnership with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation. She found her “rainbow pride” and “brown pride” at UHD. And Fran Watson, former Grand Marshal of the Houston Pride Parade and current Associate Municipal Court Judge for the City of Houston, defines her life’s mission of activism through hope. She credits the support at UHD for helping her succeed.
Each of these individuals found at UHD an inclusive, nurturing environment that enabled them to overcome setbacks and that served as a springboard for future success. And each of them has used that success to give back to the communities they represent.
I invite and encourage you to take the time to learn about the history and struggles of marginalized groups like the LGBTQIA community. UHD’s Center for Diversity & Inclusion and the Gator Ally Program are both resources dedicated to fostering this understanding and ensuring our campus culture continues to be ever more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming to all.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown