New Gator Statue Finds Home, More Enhancement Projects Ahead
By Mark Kramer
As you walk up the front steps of the Shea Street Building, home of the Marilyn Davies College of Business, you’ll quickly notice there’s a new Gator in town.
The eye-catching bronze sculpture, resting upon a concrete base, is the second of its kind that serves as a focal point of UHD pride. “Allen,” the first Gator to call UHD home, sits on the South Deck of the One Main Building. A third Gator will join the family outside of the new College of Sciences and Technology (CST) Building this fall.
“This second bronze statue is a reminder to faculty, staff, students and visitors that UHD is indeed Gator Country. It serves as a symbol of institutional pride for the University community and is a perfect addition to the Shea Street Building," UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz said.
The Gator projects are a part of many visible enhancements planned for the exterior of the University over the next year. Timothy Rychlec, assistant vice president for Facilities Management, and Elisa Olsen, executive director of University Relations, have been among the UHD community members overseeing these projects.
‘Making A Presence’
One major project that will certainly be visible is large digital sign on the South Deck. The 20x10 sign will face Travis Street and is scheduled to be installed in September. This signage also complements the Blue Light Project, which was unveiled in February, that features illumination of four historic sconces on the east side of the One Main Building
“We want to establish our presence in the Downtown Skyline and continue making UHD highly visible in our community,” Olsen said. “These enhancements and others planned for the future will promote and recognize UHD as an integral part of Downtown while providing access and opportunity to Houston students.”
In addition to the new signage and lighting, Olsen noted that the newly designed UHD banners will be placed at the University’s Welcome Center as well as new lamp post banners that will be present throughout campus. An illuminating UHD sign at the corner entrance of Travis and Girard Streets now welcomes visitors to campus, while another large silver UHD sign near the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center serves as a visible landmark and a popular spot for photos.
In Spring 2019, a project made Gator Pride visible at the intersection of North Main and Commerce Streets. The Gator mini mural, was created by Houston’s award-winning UP Art Studio in collaboration with UHD’s Office of University Relations. Other projects complimenting those at One Main, included two blue and red illuminated signs near the new CST Building and sports fields that were installed this past February.
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.