The Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously declared that there is nothing permanent — except change.

That observation certainly rings true here at the University of Houston, where we have been in a state of perpetual change since our founding in 1927. We have been both a private institution and a state university. We have evolved from a once-segregated campus to one of the most diverse universities in America. We once had only a relative handful of students living on campus, but today UH houses one of the largest student resident populations in Texas. We have expanded our once-meager research capabilities into a Tier One powerhouse.

Sometimes, the changes to our University are so gradual that they may go unnoticed by many people until they eventually reach a tipping point, and a dramatic transformation becomes apparent. In 2008, for example, a hurricane wreaked havoc on our campus, and we suffered the loss of nearly a third of our trees, including some noble, 100-year-old oaks. It was a stunning change to a once verdant campus. Since then, we have worked steadily on restoring our campus and, tree by tree, UH has quietly regained its sylvan stateliness.

Sometimes, however, the changes can be swift and enormous — literally monumental. For instance, we demolished our old football stadium and built a state-of-the-art replacement on the same site in 19 months — a mere blink of the eye in the chronology of construction. And its addition has had a spectacular impact on our campus.

Now, we find ourselves on the verge of another such extraordinary change.

Hofheinz Pavilion, which served UH well as a basketball arena and entertainment venue for most of its half-century history, will receive a magnificent — and much needed — renovation, thanks to an enlightened gift of $20 million from Tilman J. Fertitta, the noted hospitality magnate and chairman of our UH System Board of Regents. In recognition of this generous donation, which leads the way for the $60 million project, the arena will be named Fertitta Center, a fitting tribute and one we’re pleased the Hofheinz family understands and endorses. (For more information about the actual renovation, see our article on Page 17.)

This revitalized arena will be another noteworthy and noticeable change to our campus. But whether they are as high profile as an athletics facility or as inconspicuous, yet significant, as the steady increase of freshmen participating in our successful UH in 4 program, our University continues to embrace change and make the best of it.

With warm regards,

Renu Khator
President, University of Houston