09:31 AM

New President’s Lecture Series Receives $75,000 ECMC Foundation Grant


By Sheryl E. Taylor

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is creating new levels of engagement for students, faculty, staff and the Greater Houston community through conversations and dialogue thanks to the President’s Lecture Series on Justice, Equity & Inclusion.

Recently, this newly minted series received a $75,000 grant from the ECMC Foundation.

Helmed by UHD President Dr. Loren J. Blanchard, UHD’s newest lecture series creates a platform for holistic dialogues to better understand the roles that inclusion, equity, and justice play in educating UHD students and ensuring their success while supporting a thriving academic community.

The inaugural series event, “Inclusive Excellence, The Way Forward: COVID-19 and Health Equity in Communities of Color” hosted Dr. Brian Reed, Chair of Clinical Sciences at University of Houston; Dr. Stephen Spann, Founding Dean, College of Medicine & Vice President for Medical Affairs at UH; and LeChauncy Woodard, Founding Director of the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at UH.

The second event, “Inclusive Excellence, The Way Forward: Creating Diverse Organizations, moderated by Daniel Peña, Associate Professor of English at UHD, featured experts in the field of psychology including of Dr. Kristin Anderson, Professor of Psychology at UHD; Dr. Stacie DeFreitas, Associate Professor and Director of Adolescent Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at Prairie View A&M University; and Dr. Danielle King, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences at Rice University.

The lecture series continues with “Critical Conversations on the Houston Climate Issue, Environmental Justice and Sustainability” (as part of Houston Climate Week) at noon on Monday, Nov. 15. Dr. Natacha Poggio, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Houston-Downtown, who will moderate the conversation featuring:

  • Yvette Arellano, Founder & Director, Fenceline Watch
  • Ayanna Jolivet McCloud, Executive Director of Bayou City Waterkeeper
  • Bridgette Murray, Founder & Executive Director of Achieving Community Tasks Successfully
  • Stephany Mgbadigha, Legal and Advocacy Director of Air Alliance Houston

“As our students, faculty and staff are aware, the University is guided by an Institutional Compass that guides us toward key priorities—or ‘Points of Excellence,’” President Blanchard said. “This lecture series addresses these points through relevant dialogue and discourse with thought leaders on campus and in our community. We are grateful for the support of ECMC in supporting the growth of what promises to be a signature event at UHD and in Houston.”

ECMC is dedicated to improving postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. In doing so, the Foundation uses a range of grantmaking and program-related investments to support nonprofit and for-profit organizations. ECMC Foundation awards more than $35 million in grants each year that support organizational capacity building, new program or model development, existing program refinement or expansion, capital, research, and evaluation across two core focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness.


About the University of Houston-Downtown

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.