UHD President Delivers Report to the Community
Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the University of Houston-Downtown attended the President’s Report to the University Community on Thursday, Sept. 27 in Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Auditorium. The annual event featured UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz delivering his second presidential address since joining the University in 2016.
During his speech, President Muñoz acknowledged the new look of the auditorium, which emphasized UHD's school colors.
"You’ll notice much more blue—our school color— in this auditorium," he said. "This room, which hosts so many important events—including last night’s congressional debates—is now emblematic of our University."
The auditorium complements UHD's other enhancements on campus such as the new bronze gator on the South Deck and the blue lights at the top of the One Main Building. While the lights and statue promote pride, he said, UHD's faculty and staff must do their part to share school spirit.
"School spirit doesn’t just start with our students," he said. "It begins with our faculty and staff – those who guide our Gators toward success in our classrooms and ultimately in their careers beyond UHD."
Muñoz cited several examples of committed Gators, who are doing exemplary things on campus and in the community. He applauded the many students who participated in Gator Serve, Communicators on Patrol (a partnership between UHD and the Houston Police Department), and Dr. Maria Bhattacharjee's bilingual E-Book project. He also cited students' artwork at Saint Arnold Brewing Company as an example of Gators doing great things in the community.
On the topic of enrollment, Muñoz reported that UHD posted its first increase in four years with 14,265. Although the number was just short of the 14,500 goal set over the summer months, he commended the Enrollment Heroes (recognized by the Office of the Registrar) and others who worked diligently to bolster UHD's headcount.
He also pointed out some impressive facts about UHD's recent enrollment efforts.
"Our First Time In College Students have increased by 11 percent and our transfers are up 14 percent," Muñoz said. "We grew two core groups in our student population by double digits. We also are graduating more Pell Grant recipients. Those students who once thought a college education was out of reach are succeeding at UHD. The number of economically disadvantaged students graduating from our university has increased nearly 30 percent in three years."
Muñoz also announced that UHD had exceeded its $25 million fundraising goal that was announced last year. With a recent Brown Foundation gift of $500,000, UHD has surpassed its 2020 Here, We Go campaign goal.
"We have raised $25.6 million to date," he said. "We’re not slowing down. We will continue to seek out new gifts and opportunities that will support our students and grow UHD."
Fundraising is only part of the equation when it comes to growing the University, he said. Grants also are essential to UHD's success, and award dollars have increased 47 percent since last year. Muñoz cited recent grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute ($1 million), Houston-Galveston Area Council ($1.1 million shared with the Housing Entrepreneurship and Readiness Training program), Texas Workforce Investment Council ($500,000) and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board ($250,000).
Soon, UHD delegates will be traveling to Austin to discuss the University's initiatives with members of the 86th Legislature, he added. These include transforming the Student Life Center into a Student Union Building and adding a new level to the Girard Street Building.
He said that facilities, buildings and other physical components comprising the University are just part of what makes UHD an effective institution for higher learning. Its people, he said, are essential to growing the University.
"Our development isn’t solely made possible by new buildings, new fields or new programs … it’s facilitated by you…our faculty, staff, students and alumni," he said "Your hard work … your determination … your perseverance … and your spirit keep our University growing. Today, I am proud to point to all of you and say … 'There’s UHD.'"
The full Report to the Community can be viewed here.
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.