The University of Houston center that conducts impartial research of public policy issues now will bear the name of a giant in the world of public service, media and academics. The UH Center for Public Policy (CPP) has been renamed the Hobby Center for Public Policy in honor of William P. Hobby.
"Bill Hobby's lifetime of achievements in the public and private sector and in academia exemplify the critical ingredients of creating a Tier One university: excellence, innovation, dedication and plain old hard work," said Professor Jim Granato, director of the CPP. "The Hobby Center for Public Policy will be a reflection of this remarkable man's accomplishments."
Hobby was sworn in as lieutenant governor of the state of Texas in 1973. It was a position he would hold for 18 years, longer than any other person elected to it. During his tenure, he was widely respected for his legislative ability and his dedication to higher education. Hobby served as president of the Houston Post for nearly 20 years, until the sale of the family-owned newspaper in 1983. Currently, he is president of Hobby Communications. Additionally, he has lectured history and government students at UH, as well as students at the University of Michigan's Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research.
"Bill Hobby personifies the caliber of excellence that defines our university and the work of the Center for Public Policy," said UH System Chancellor Renu Khator. "The center performs important research relevant to the city of Houston and the nation. It is our great honor to rename it for Bill Hobby."
Hobby will be an active participant in the center's workshops and seminars related to national and regional issues. Additionally, he will continue studies on the racial and geographic differences in voting patterns in Texas.
"The University of Houston Hobby Center for Public Policy is a research center for policy development, an incubator for public servants and an online reservoir of information," Hobby said. "I am proud to have my name associated with it."
CPP provides scientific, non-biased data and analysis to public officials, business professionals and community leaders in Houston and Texas. Recent studies have examined the Houston economy, use of Conducted Energy Devices at the Houston Police Department, the demographics of Texas Lottery players, and capacity evaluation for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Collaborating with NASA researchers, CPP created the innovative Concept Visualization Lab that presents statistical data in dynamic and interactive methods. Additionally, CPP is the recipient of National Science Foundation (NSF) grants to study housing foreclosure trends in Houston, and recently led a workshop to examine the future of social science training programs of the NSF, the largest federal funder of non-medical science and educational research. Through student internship opportunities in local, state and federal offices sponsored by the center and supported by public officials, many young people have discovered their passion for public service.
The UH System Board of Regents approved the change at its May 18 meeting.
Hobby's affinity for public policy and academics is lauded by others in the field. Max Sherman recalls the former lieutenant governor as being a man of the people.
"I think Bill Hobby is one of the all-stars of Texas history and Texas government," said Max Sherman, former dean of the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Policy and former Texas Panhandle legislator. "He epitomizes the best of public policy. I think it is a fitting tribute to a distinguished career to have a center for public policy named for him."
In addition to serving as Texas lieutenant governor, Hobby has served as the Sid Richardson Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin (1991-1995); University of Houston System Chancellor (1995-1997); and Commissioner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (1993-1994). He also has served appointments to the boards of Rice University (1989-1993); University of Houston (1995-1997), Southwest Airlines (1990-2007), and St. Edward's University (1990-1995).
For more information about the UH Hobby Center for Public Policy, visit www.uh.edu/cpp/.